Artificial caves have been built in Dubai as part of a programme designed to encourage fish stocks and rehabilitate marine ecosystems across the UAE.
The Ministry of Climate Change and Environment installed 100 caves made from eco-friendly materials at Jumeirah Fishing Harbour on Saturday.
The caves – which have been named Zayed Marine Reserves – were built as part of the first phase of an agreement signed between the ministry and Delma Marine late last year to build and install artificial habitats in UAE waters.
Dr Thani Al Zeyoudi, Minister of Climate Change and Environment, who witnessed the installation of the caves, said the Zayed Marine Reserves are part of the ministry's efforts to “support the sustainability of the marine environment, promote research and studies on marine biodiversity, build incubators for young fish in the coastal marine environment and to enhance the fisheries stock”.
Maj Gen Pilot Ahmed Mohammed bin Thani, chairman of the Marine Conservation Society, said ensuring a sustainable marine environment is highlighted in UAE Vision 2021.
“The installation of artificial caves serves this target well as they represent an alternative for natural habitats that incubate marine life, particularly small fish. Such efforts facilitate research and control activities to assess the current state of the marine environment,” he said.
The Artificial Caves Programme was launched by the ministry in May 2016 as part of its ongoing efforts to promote fishing as an occupation and improve the sustainability of fish stocks. The initiative includes the establishment of an artificial marine reserve in Ras Dhadna with 400 cement caves and five fishing sites using artificial caves in the Bird Island of Dibba, among other locations.
The news follows the announcement of the construction of coral gardens spread over 850 square metres along the coast of Ras Al Khaimah, Umm Al Quwain and Ajman to help rehabilitate natural marine ecosystems in the area.
The work, the first phase of three new coral reefs, is being bedded in as part of a Ministry of Climate Change and Environment project to help boost fish stocks and encourage several marine species.