Bahrain to launch largest marine life reserve
Manama, June 4, 2013
Bahrain will soon introduce the kingdom's largest marine life reserve designed to protect the pearls' environment and serve as a cultural and environmental heritage site, said a senior government official.
The Hayrrat, located off the north coast of Bahrain, will cover an area of around 1,350 sq m, added Supreme Council for the Environment director-general Dr Adel Al Zayani, speaking on the sidelines of the 12th meeting for Agreement on the Protection of Wildlife and Natural Habitats in the GCC, reported the Gulf Daily News (GDN), our sister publication.
"The Hayrrat reserve will be the largest in Bahrain and aims to safeguard the pearl environment in the country," he said.
"The reserve is already registered with the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation (Unesco) as an international heritage site."
The natural resources conference, attended by heads of environmental committees in all six Gulf countries, is being held under the patronage of His Majesty King Hamad's Personal Representative and Supreme Council of Environment president Shaikh Abdulla bin Hamad Al Khalifa, at the Sofitel Bahrain Zallaq Thalassa Sea and Spa.
"Bahrain's small areas compared to the increase in population and need for infrastructure and housing resources are a challenge," Dr Al Zayani told the GDN.
"But it is working to strike a balance between development, needs and resources, as well as implement sustainable development."
Dr Al Zayani said more reserves should be implemented in the GCC.
"I personally think environment reserves should exist in reality and not only on paper," he said.
"It should be implemented and it is already seen by all GCC states. In Bahrain, an international direction is being undertaken to ensure biodiversity in such reserves co-exist with humans as partners."
He added that a biodiversity department was recently established to manage such resources in the country and introduce programmes to ensure it.
Fish farms 'boosting resources'
Meanwhile, fish farms and reserves are considered "biological banks" which feed fishing areas and support resources in those countries, said Saudi Wildlife Authority president Prince Bandar bin Saud Al Saud.
He urged GCC countries to create more such initiatives to support marine life.
"During my visits to countries where I practised my love for fishing, I noticed that those introduce fish farms in their schemes have more resources," he told the GDN.
"Those projects are considered biological banks that feed the fish resources in such countries. I stress on Gulf countries to protect its resources and follow such direction."
He revealed co-operation projects between the GCC, including Saudi Arabia and Bahrain, is ongoing in various environmental issues including protection of sea turtles, dugongs and mangroves.
"We are witnessing rapid development in this field which will have benefits on the environment," he said. "The meeting held is to work on implementing the agreement between GCC environment presidents for further co-operation."
He also said Gulf countries should stop exploiting natural resources.
"It is not enough to have sustainable development schemes to safeguard environmental resources," said Prince Bandar. "We should stop the exploitation of natural resources and bio-diverse areas as it no longer can face the pressures of urban development." – TradeArabia News Service