The Minister of Climate Change and Environment met fishermen in Umm Al Quwain and asked them to stop using methods that deplete fish stocks and harm marine life.
Dr Thani Al Zeyoudi said such practices were giving the country a poor image around the world.
He was in UAQ to inspect building work on a new port for fishing boats.
“It is the responsibility of all segments of society to achieve the vision of the leadership embodied in the UAE Vision 2021 to achieve sustainability,” he said.
“We must all act responsibly and strive positively to attain this important goal and stop unsustainable practices.”
Dr Al Zeyoudi’s tour was followed by a meeting with a delegation from the UAQ Co-operative Society for Fishermen.
The organisation represents more than 390 fishermen.
The delegation gave assurances that it would abide by ministry directives to educate and encourage its members to practice sustainable fishing.
The minister’s comments came only days after 20 stingrays were found washed up on Dubai’s Sunset Beach.
A resident on an early morning walk discovered the adult and baby rays, some of which were still alive.
Experts believed the rays were dumped there by fishermen who accidentally caught them in their nets.
In November, six dugongs were found dead on a beach in Abu Dhabi after being caught in abandoned drift nets.
This brought the total number of dugong deaths in the UAE this year to 20. Scientists say fishing nets are the leading cause of dugong deaths in Abu Dhabi waters.
The Environment Agency Abu Dhabi can fine those found to be flouting fishing laws.
First-time offenders can be fined Dh50,000 and given a jail sentence of at least three months, while second-time offenders can receive fines of up to Dh100,000 and a minimum prison term of one year.
The National reported in February that the ministry was introducing a campaign to tackle over-fishing and illegal nets.