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Study to save Bahrain fish from extinction

Manama, April 18, 2010

A major study is underway to examine how to save several species of fish that are on the brink of extinction in Bahrain.

Officials are considering imposing a ban on fishing in certain areas of the country to protect them, said Public Commission for Protection of Marine Resources, Environment and Wildlife director-general of marine resources Jassim Al Qaseer.

'Fish including Safi, Sunaifi, and Burtam are the fish that are facing extinction because of various factors,' he told our sister newspaper Gulf Daily News (GDN).

'They are close to extinction because the places where they live and multiply are rocky and are full of reefs which are not their natural habitat and which cause them to die.'

Al Qaseer said that fish were also being forced to move from their natural habitat to less suitable areas because of dredging and land reclamation.

'Another reason is fishermen crowd large numbers of boats into these areas and continue to fish 24 hours without giving it a rest,' he said.

'Catching fish which are not important and part of the food chain in fish habitats affects their numbers.'

Al Qaseer said these factors were destroying the sea environment and fish nursing areas which was directly affecting fish stocks.

'Fishermen must avoid catching pregnant fish and if caught they should isolate them in a tank for rehabilitation and then returned to the water,' he said.

'Fishermen already know all this but would they take the time to rehabilitate them and put them back in the sea rather than just throw them back in?'

Al Qaseer said fishermen also knew that they should not catch small fish and know the areas where small fish are located yet they still catch them.

'They are also not supposed to fish in rocky areas because these are where the small fish are located and this is where the big fish feed on them and this will destroy their habitat and their food cycle,' he said.

'If these fishermen used safe methods the fish will be fine but the problem is some fishermen think that if they don't fish in that area someone else will.'

Al Qaseer said the idea of the study was to try and preserve Bahrain's fish resources for future generations.

'We will try to collect the fish and try to place them in habitats where we can revitalise their growth once again and ban fishing from those areas as they are nurseries and should not be touched,' he said.

'The study will find ways to decide nursery sites and prevent fishermen from getting close to them.

'The time frame of this study is unknown but it is under research right now and developments will be announced later.'-TradeArabia News Service




Tags: Bahrain | Environment | Fish | extinction | food chain |

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