Environmental scientists and conservationists are preparing to descend on Abu Dhabi for a high-level summit to confront the threats facing the world’s oceans.
Experts from around the globe will gather at the World Ocean Summit to debate key issues of the day, including overfishing, aquaculture and climate change.
The three-day event will feature more than 75 speakers and 400 guests from the worlds of business, technology and government.
Last year, the UN said that a third of the world’s oceans were overfished at a time when fish consumption was its highest level ever. “The world has common challenges, such as declining fisheries, but there is also a lot of opportunity,” said Mohamed Al Madfaei, of the Environment Agency Abu Dhabi. “This event is being held in the Middle East because of the amount of trade that passes through these waters. We see ourselves in the EAD as leaders in the region for protecting the marine environment, he noted.”
The Abu Dhabi summit will hear about continuing efforts to address the problem, including laboratory-grown fish aimed at relieving pressure on wild stocks.
A second topic under discussion will be increasing concern about the millions of tonnes of plastic waste being dumped at sea each year.
Like the rest of the world, the Arabian Gulf is facing its own challenges and several species in the UAE, including whales and dugongs, are threatened with extinction
The UN has said that marine life faces “irreparable damage” and that businesses are vital to tackling the problem.
This week will be the first time the World Ocean Summit is being held in the Middle East, a region that is home to a great wealth of marine biology.
But like the rest of the world, the Arabian Gulf is facing its own challenges and several species in the UAE, including whales and dugongs, are threatened with extinction.
A recent study by New York University Abu Dhabi revealed record temperatures in 2017 left more than 90 per cent of the emirate’s coral struggling to survive.
And only last month, the capture of a bull shark off the coast of Fujairah during the closed season highlighted efforts to clamp down on illegal fishing.
Yet despite the obvious challenges facing the Middle East, the fightback has begun. Hotels are eschewing individual plastic bottles for water coolers and many businesses are organising beach clean-ups. Efforts are also under way to curb the region’s desalination plants from pumping brine into the Gulf, a process known to reduce oxygen levels in the water and harm marine life.