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Illegal trade of sharks uncovered at Deira fish market

Dozens of sharks found with their fins cut off were confiscated and disposed of by Dubai Municipality recently. Left: Sharks on sale at a fish market in the UAE. Image credit: GN Archives Mariam M. Al Serkal, Senior Web Reporter

Dubai: Authorities are cracking down on the illegal trade of sharks, after dozens were confiscated and disposed of at the fish market in Deira.

إدارة البيئة ببلدية دبي تصادر كمية من أسماك القرش من سوق السمك بديره، حيث تم تنفيذ العقوبات على المخالفين وفقا للقرار الوزاري رقم 500 لسنة 2014 بشأن تنظيم صيد وتجارة أسماك القرش خلال هذه الفترة من العام ، وقد تم التنسيق مع إدارة سلامة الغذاء للتخلص السليم من الكميات المصادرة.

The Environment Department in Dubai Municipality confiscated a large number of sharks from the fish market in Deira, where the sanctions on violators have been implemented according to the Ministerial Decree No. 500 for the year 2014 regarding organizing of hunting and trading sharks during this period of the year. Additionally, it was coordinated with Food Safety Department for proper disposal of the confiscated quantities

Above: Photos of the inspection campaign were posted on Dubai Municipality’s Facebook page, which displayed graphic images of sharks with their fins cut off.

According to Ministerial Decree No. 500, traders need special permits to fish the sharks, “not less than five nautical miles from the shores of the UAE and not less than three nautical miles from the islands of the UAE.”

Eng Eisa Al Maidour, Deputy Director General of Dubai Municipality, told Gulf News on Thursday that inspection campaigns to monitor the trade of sharks and fish are regularly carried out throughout the year.

“Inspections at the fish market are not limited to sharks, but also extends to all other species, as they all have to be protected against overfishing. Stringent measures are in place against all types of fish, in order to prevent depletion of the various species of fish,” he said.

During the inspection, hefty penalties were slapped against vendors, in accordance to the Ministerial Decree, confirmed Dubai Municipality officials.  

Companies are also not permitted to export sharks caught in the fishing waters of the UAE, whether fresh, frozen, dried or salted, smoked or canned, or any other form, throughout the year.

Decree No.500 further stated that the implantation of stringent rules will prevent the fishing of sharks that are caught solely for their fins, whose bodies are then discarded back into the sea. Decree No. 500 (2014) states that sharks must be brought into the port with their bodies intact.

In the case of imported sharks that are listed by the Convention of International Trade in Endangered Species (CITES) in Appendix II – with species that are not necessarily now threatened with extinction but that may become so unless trade is closely controlled - an export or re-export certificate from the administrative authority in the exporting country is required.

Top 5 Fish Species with Regulated Trade  

  1. Great hammerhead
  2. Scalloped bonnet head
  3. Swordfish
  4. Carcharinus longimanus
  5. Manta rays

Source: Convention of International Trade in Endangered Species (CITES)

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