In line with the Ministry’s efforts to boost the local fisheries sector, the resolution effectively addresses the issue of trading existing licenses at vastly inflated prices in a parallel market.
The new resolution suspends the Ministerial Decree No. 372 of 2013 on temporary suspension of new fishing boat registration, and provides an opportunity for newcomers to enter the fisheries sector by issuing new licenses, as long as they meet the eligibility criteria.
Dr. Abdullah Belhaif Al Nuaimi, Minister of Climate Change and Environment, said: “MOCCAE is committed to preserving the continuity of the fishing profession, attracting Emiratis, particularly youth, to the sector, creating an enabling environment for local fishermen, and ensuring the sustainability of the country’s fish stocks. To inform our efforts, we hold regular meetings with the concerned local government entities, the Supreme Committee for the Exploitation, Protection, and Development of Living Aquatic Resources, and fishermen across the country. This way, we learn of the challenges facing this vital sector, and can devise well-informed plans and initiatives to help it thrive.”
He added that MOCCAE worked closely with local government entities to ensure that the issue of new fishing boat licenses does not lead to the depletion of the fisheries stocks. The Ministry also collaborated with the relevant agencies in each emirate to examine the list of fishing boats currently licensed in the UAE and determine their owners’ effectiveness in practicing the fishing profession. As a result, inactive licenses were revoked, and new ones are being issued to eligible candidates.
Under the resolution, applicants must be UAE nationals, medically fit to operate a boat, and licensed by the concerned local government entities. They must also pass a test to obtain a fishing license and a driving test for a fishing boat.
Moreover, the candidates must not be registered with MOCCAE or already hold a fishing boat license. They must not be first-degree relatives of persons registered with the Ministry and holding multiple fishing boat licenses, and they must practice fishing themselves using methods permitted by law.
The applicants must score 70 percent on the evaluation criteria that includes availability to practice fishing, monthly income, and number of family members.
In collaboration with local government entities, MOCCAE will continue to evaluate the effectiveness of issued licenses and the compliance of their holders with federal and local fishing regulations to identify licenses that should be revoked.
The purpose of the exercise is to even out the numbers of issued and cancelled licenses with the aim of striking a balance between the development of the sector and sustainability of the marine environment and fisheries stocks.
The Ministry seeks to ensure that all license holders actively contribute to the sector and help enhance its role in strengthening the country’s food security. The authorities will monitor the movement of the boats to guarantee optimal utilization of the issued licenses.