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SCC discusses policy of Sharjah Fish Resources Authority

May 12, 2024 / 11:49 AM
During the event
Sharjah 24: In continuation of the agenda of the Sharjah Consultative Council (SCC) in its ninth session as part of its regular proceedings in the eleventh legislative term, at its headquarters in the city of Sharjah, headed by His Excellency Dr. Abdullah Belhaif Al Nuaimi, Chairman of the SCC, the council discussed the policy of the Sharjah Fish Resources Authority (SFRA).

The proceedings of the session were attended by Ali Ahmed Abu Ghazin, Member of the Sharjah Executive Council, Chairman of the SFRA, and his assistants, Salem Mohammed Al Kadeed, Director of the Support Services Department, Dr. Abdullah Abdul Rahman Shuhail, Acting Director of the Fish Resources Department, Marwan Mohammed Al Hammadi, Director of the Legal Affairs Office, and Musab Hilal Al Naqbi, Director of the Government Communications Department.

Then the Secretary General of the council, Ahmed Saeed Al Jarwan, presented the general topic of discussing the policy of the Sharjah Fish Resources Authority, saying: 

“Pursuant to Decree Law No. 3 of 2022 regarding the organisation of the Sharjah Fish Resources Authority, issued by His Highness Sheikh Dr. Sultan bin Mohammed Al Qasimi, Supreme Council Member and Ruler of Sharjah, on Thursday. The fifth of the month of Safar in the year 1444 AH, corresponding to the first of September 2022 AD, the Sharjah Fish Resources Authority, through its roles, aims to achieve four goals: preserving and developing fish resources in the Emirate, achieving and developing food security, reviving and advancing the fishing profession, and supporting cooperative shops by selling fishing materials at competitive prices, in addition to providing all available support to fishermen and their activities at the Emirate level; due to the importance of examining the work of the Sharjah Fish Resources Authority, the applicants would like to discuss this topic in the public interest.”

Then Ali Ahmed Abu Ghazin, Chairman of the SFRA, gave a speech in which he said:

“First of all, I would like to extend to you and to the members of this honourable council, on behalf of the Sharjah Fish Resources Authority, my sincere thanks and appreciation for the interest that the council gives to the authority and for supporting its work, which translates the insightful vision and directives of His Highness Sheikh Dr. Sultan bin Mohammed Al Qasimi, Supreme Council Member and Ruler of Sharjah, and His Highness’s generous care, and Sheikh Sultan bin Mohammed bin Sultan Al Qasimi, Crown Prince and Deputy Ruler of Sharjah, which was the greatest motivation in the authority’s tireless endeavour to complete its establishment system and carry out its important roles in preserving fish resources and supporting fishermen through fishermen’s associations.”

He addressed the authority’s objectives contained in the provisions of Decree Law No. 3 of 2022 regarding the organisation of the Sharjah Fish Resources Authority, issued on September 1, 2022.

Then he touched on presenting the authority’s policies and services and pointed out that the authority undertakes many tasks and responsibilities that play an important and effective role in reviving and advancing the fishing profession and working to achieve food security and development.

Then the members gave their questions and inquiries. Member Ahmed Rashid Al Shamsi asked about the importance of the Sharjah Fish Resources Authority’s direction to work to coordinate its efforts with Ruwad, Sheraa, the Khalifa Fund and other funds and bodies that support youth projects, whether at the local or federal level, to direct youth towards innovative investment. 

In the fisheries sector, he inquired about the authority’s intention to complete the legislative system in the Emirate of Sharjah in the field of fishing, and move towards obtaining legislative permission to draft legislation regulating the practice of fishing in the Emirate of Sharjah. 

He also asked about the date of starting to establish fishermen’s councils in every city in the Emirate of Sharjah. 

Al Shamsi called for coordination with the Department of Town Planning and Survey, and the need to support fishermen’s associations with financial resources, to develop this profession, by allocating land in distinct locations to establish gas stations for fishermen’s associations.

Member Ahmed Obaid Al Awasiya Al Zaabi asked about the authority’s plans to popularise the idea of establishing fishermen’s villages across the cities of the Emirate of Sharjah, based on the model of the fishermen’s village in Al Hamriyah region, and the specific steps to implement this idea and provide a suitable environment for the lives of fishermen. In addition to the authority’s plans to maintain fishermen’s boat ports in the Eastern Region, especially in the cities of Dibba Al Hisn and Kalba, and the authority’s intention to increase the number of boat berths to accommodate more fishermen, and improve the infrastructure to support their activities.

He inquired about the directive of His Highness Sheikh Dr. Sultan bin Mohammed Al Qasimi, Supreme Council Member and Ruler of Sharjah, to allow hunting using (Tahouita) in the Eastern Region. In addition to the authority’s vision for activating this directive, and the planned measures to ensure the safety of the marine environment and achieve sustainability in fishing operations in this way.

Member Salem Mohammed Al Rashidi inquired about the authority’s plans to begin steps and initiatives towards offering specialised training programmes for young people wishing to practice the fishing profession, including practical and theoretical education on sustainable fishing methods and modern techniques in finshing. 

He asked about the authority’s approach to supporting young people beginning the fishing profession in terms of providing Financial and technical support for young people who want to enter the fishing field, such as providing equipment and what is needed to start work. In addition to the authority’s intention to establish educational and cultural centres or launch an institute, concerned with teaching the culture of fishing and its importance, along with providing educational and educational resources about the marine environment and methods of preserving it. 

Member Fatima Mohammed Khasouni Al Ketbi asked about the authority’s intention to organise incentive events and competitions to target young people and encourage them to participate in the field of fishing, and the steps taken to enhance the competitive spirit and increase interest in the profession. In addition to the authority’s plan to organise awareness and educational campaigns in schools and universities, along with the key messages that will be the focus of these campaigns, and the authority’s intention to use these campaigns to raise awareness of the importance of the fishing profession among young people and attract them towards it.

Member Rashid Saleh Al Hammadi asked about the authority’s plans, in coordination with Jubail Markets, to deal with merchants, in terms of controlling prices and setting daily selling prices. In addition to the mechanisms proposed to ensure the implementation of these policies and maintain price stability.

He inquired about the authority’s plans and the studies it is conducting to expand the establishment of factories to serve the fishing field in many fields, such as establishing drying factories, canning factories, and others, and the steps that the authority intends to take to open new markets and expand export channels to enhance the fishery sector.

He also asked about the authority’s procedures in coordination with the competent authorities to combat being on the marine environment without a permit. In addition to the proposed policies and programmes to ensure the protection of the marine environment and address illegal activities that affect the environment.

Member Dr. Sultan Khamis Al Zaabi touched on the authority’s strategic plans to work towards achieving them during the current year and next year in light of the multiplicity of specialisations and its orientation to establishing artificial barriers to preserve fish resources. In addition to the strategic goal within its tasks and goals towards fish resources.

He also asked about the steps that the authority intends to take to improve the support system and ensure the provision of better services to fishermen, in all aspects.

Member Fatima Al Muqarrab asked about the increase in the authority’s budget for the current year compared to last year, amounting to an estimated 5 million dirhams, and about the mechanism for employing this increase, as well as the new initiatives resulting from it.

She also asked about steps the authority taken to activate the cooperation agreement with cooperative societies to market the sale of fish.

Member Moza Maadhad bin Huwaiden asked about the steps that must be taken to prepare a study that explores the roles of the authority in exercising its powers and preparing an organisational and functional structure that suits the requirements of its work for the next stage. 

She also asked about the proposed projects that could be presented by the authority to achieve the aspirations of the Emirate of Sharjah in the field of fish food security. 

Member Mohammed Al Alawi Al Dhahouri asked about the authority’s plans to work to localise job cadres in fishermen’s associations by creating a job cadre affiliated with the government of Sharjah and supervised by the authority, and a future plan to support fishermen in the Emirate.

He also asked about facilitating federal and local support for fishermen’s associations and suggested issuing a local decision in coordination with the competent authorities in the country that would allow for seasonal migratory fish and not linking it to a specific time, as it is considered an opportunity for fishermen to earn their livelihood from this sea since the seasons advance and delay in the year and are not fixed at the same time.

He called for establishing a factory for packing, wrapping and preserving fresh and dried fish in the Emirate to support local production and to achieve food security and self-sufficiency in the Emirate in particular and the UAE in general and reduce dependence on products outside the country.

Then Member Rashid Ghanem Al Shamsi asked about the authority’s opinion about establishing a council that includes the heads of fishermen’s associations in the Emirate of Sharjah under the umbrella of the authority to coordinate joint work. 

Al Shamsi asked about the adequacy of the approved budget for the authority and whether it is compatible with the requirements of the next stage. In addition to the steps can be taken to ensure the provision of adequate funding to support and develop the authority’s work and the extent of coordination between the authority and the Coast Guard and the Ministry of Climate Change and Environment, as it was recently noted that there were a large number of fishermen’s comments about some of the procedures that have been applied and emphasised by the concerned authorities, and taking into account the comments received on the fishermen’s village in Al Hamriyah.

Member Dr. Ahmed Saleh Al Naqbi asked about the authority’s approach towards coral reef farming and the authority’s mechanism for developing fish stocks.

Member Mohammed Ali Jaber Al Hammadi asked about the importance of planting trees that adapt to climate change according to a broad plan in this regard within the framework of the authority’s work.

Member Dr. Ruqaya Al Zaabi asked about fishermen fishing during the evening period, and the authority’s application of security and safety standards. 

She called for the importance of informing fishermen in the Emirate about the authority’s work.

Member Hamad Al Qawadi called on the authority to consider the lack of space allocated for fishing, especially in Khorfakkan, due to the large number of commercial ships and the organisation of fishing sites. 

He pointed out the lack of fish stocks and treating the depletion of fish resources through special practices.

Member Dr. Hind Al Hajri asked about the steps that the authority will take to activate the cooperation agreement with cooperative societies to market the sale of fish. In addition to the specific goals that the authority wishes to achieve through this agreement and the authority’s planned role in participating in local and foreign festivals, such as the Saudi Festival and the Maleh Festival.

Ali Ahmed Abu Ghazin, Chairman of the Authority, and his assistants from the authority, answered the various questions of the members by emphasising what the authority has been keen to achieve since its establishment in 2022. 

He stressed that the interest in fishermen and the development of fish resources ae within the framework of the great support of His Highness the Ruler of Sharjah and His Highness’s directives to preserve the fishing profession and provide support for fishermen and supplying the local market with fish caught by fishermen.

He also spoke about that fishing licences and the types of applications submitted.

Number of completed applications for the year 2023 (May - December): 400

Number of completed applications for the year 2024 (January - April): 138

Detailed numbers of fishermen: Sharjah: 453, Al Hamriyah: 88, Kalba: 408, Khorfakkan: 284, Dibba Al Hisn: 135, Total: 1368.

Regarding cooperation and partnerships, he stated that there was a partnership with the University of Khorfakkan, the University of Sharjah in the field of research, the Ministry of Climate Change and Environment as a strategic partner, the American University of Sharjah in events and exhibitions, and the Sharjah Maritime Academy in the field of plans to improve fishing boats.

He revealed the preparation of an integrated study for the fish farming project to establish the first fish farm in the city of Khorfakkan. In addition to the participation in Al Maleh Marine Festival 2023 and the Dhawahi Festival 2023 and the visit to the Saudi International Fisheries Exhibition 2024, along with launching a competition to unify the visual identity of cooperative societies for fishermen. The authority also visited various entities inside and outside the UAE. 

Regarding the future plan, the authority pointed out that the authority’s future plan is to complete future projects in line with the developments that occur on an ongoing basis and to design an environmentally friendly boat in cooperation with the Sharjah Maritime Academy, in addition to a proposal to study joint factories with fishermen’s cooperative societies with the aim of finding a financial resource for fishermen’s cooperative societies.

Work is underway to adopt the visual identity of the authority and the associations, while working to obtain the requirements of the ISO 9001 specifications, documenting the quality guide and policy in accordance with the 2015 edition, and linking the authority’s services to the Sharjah Digital Platform. 

In addition to launching a website for the authority that includes the websites of fishermen’s associations in one platform, attract university students with related specialisations in coordination with the Human Resources Department, and preparing a plan to organise the marine festival in cooperation with the Sharjah Chamber of Commerce and Industry, along with establishing a wild fish farm and requesting large investment plots of land to be used to establish wild fish farms and establish a building for the authority in the cities of Sharjah and Khorfakkan.

Regarding the establishment of a village for fishermen in Al Hamriyah, the authority seeks to transfer workers from the supporting groups to this village, which constitutes a qualitative and professional shift for fishing workers in that region by providing high-quality service facilities with international specifications that meet in one place to facilitate the performance of their tasks and provide for their needs, pointing out that the village includes warehouses for storing fishing equipment, a mosque that can accommodate about 200 worshipers, a dining hall, and a number of necessary service facilities. 

This reflects the extent of the government’s interest in the maritime sector and its development, serving fishermen and taking into account their interests, stating that there is a tendency to generalise fishermen’s villages in other cities because it takes into account the provision of an integrated healthy environment and the necessary safety requirements for establishing the village away from residential and industrial areas and its proximity to the sea, in a way that enhances performance leading to practicing the profession without challenges, highlighting the importance of working to localise the cadre of workers in fishermen’s associations.

He pointed out the authority’s keenness to communicate with fishermen’s associations and provide ways of support, as well as considering establishing a fish farm in the city of Khorfakkan, in addition to studying the establishment of factories that support fish activity.

Regarding communication with fishermen’s associations, he pointed out the authority’s keenness to enhance constructive communication and permanent coordination with these associations, monitor the needs and requirements of fishermen, work to meet them, overcome obstacles, and face challenges because this profession is of great importance and a great heritage that must be preserved, and achieving food security, which is considered one of the most important goals in the Emirate.

He explained that the authority is working to implement the visions and directives of His Highness Sheikh Dr. Sultan bin Mohammed Al Qasimi, Supreme Council Member and Ruler of Sharjah, to support fishermen and create the ideal environment for practicing the fishing profession, upgrading it and developing it in a way that contributes to achieving food security and supporting workers in this sector as it is a financial resource for them and part of it. It is a major part of the economic activity in the Emirate, which is witnessing remarkable development and growth in all fields.

He stated that these fruitful visits and meetings with the 5 fishermen’s associations, which include the Sharjah Cooperative Society, Al Hamriyah Cooperative Society, Kalba Cooperative Society, Dibba Al Hisn Cooperative Society, and Khorfakkan Cooperative Society, pave the way for more support and providing the best services.

He pointed out that these visits come within the goals, visions and strategy of the authority to enhance the Emirate’s success in food security and fish farming projects, preserve resources, serve the fishing profession and support fishermen, as the authority seeks with great efforts to advance the services it provides and enhance cooperation and coordination with associations, and these visits will continue on a permanent basis to review all needs and listen to any suggestions, and work together to overcome obstacles and face challenges.

Regarding the agreement with the Sharjah Cooperative Society, the agreement works to provide fresh fish that are caught and produced by fishermen in the Emirate, and provide it to the community on a permanent basis in order to achieve the visions and directives of His Highness the Ruler of Sharjah and enhance the local fish production in order to achieve self-sufficiency, which is the approach that the Emirate follows in providing the finest types of meat, fish, dairy, flour and other organic products.

He added that supplying the local market with fresh fishermen’s fish contributes to supporting them economically. In addition to enhancing confidence in these fish and their source, especially since fishermen are making great efforts to preserve this profession as a popular and traditional heritage that reflects the authentic past, and the authority aims to provide them with all the necessary needs and support on an ongoing basis.

May 12, 2024 / 11:49 AM

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