Fujairah Collage

Fujairah Collage
Some distinctive landmarks in Fujairah

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Smelling the Decline of the Fujairah Fishing Industry

In September and October 2008 there were reports of the seasonal Red Tide algae affecting the northern Fujairah beaches around Dibba.

In this month of November 2008 there are reports of Red Tide in the main Fujairah beaches and south to Kalba (Sharjah).

The Khaleej Times (11 November 2008) reported the stench but no dead fish. It also indicated that local spokespersons were downplaying the effect of the algae:

“Juma Al Hora, Director of the Kalba Municipality, said on Monday that fishing has not stopped and no fishermen has reported to the authorities about finding any dead fish and added [that] the phenomenon is natural, and often continues for ten days to two weeks. Thereafter, the water returns to the normal colour.”

“Abdullah Al Dali, Chairman of the Fishermen Association in Fujairah, also confirmed red tide reaching Fujairah beaches. ‘It is mild and has not spread to the high seas. It happens every year. It spreads stench and the water turns red,’ he noted. ‘The situation is safe and there is nothing to worry, as fishermen are venturing out to sea as normal.”

While more than 200 tonnes of dead fish were found floating along the coast near Dibba when the Red Tide struck, the situation does not appear to be of the same magnitude at the moment on the southern Fujairah beaches and at the Kalba beach.

With the wind coming off the sea in the last few days the lingering stench at Fujairah has been apparent even away from the beaches and in the suburbs. Yesterday (Wednesday), a few dead fish were to be seen on the Fujairah beach north of the Hilton Hotel beach.

Further north (where the blue covered tables and chairs line the beach) a dejected fishing team was reporting ‘No fish!’ The leader of the team, which was mainly from Kerala said, “We have fished most days for the last month but have not caught any fish.” What makes it particularly tough he said was, “No fish. No salary.”

A report on 1 November 2008 bemoaned the decline of the fishing industry in Fujairah, citing Red Tide algae and oil spills as contributors to this serious environmental and economic problem.

Dr Geoff Pound

Image: “No fish. No salary.”

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