A Bahraini dhow in drydock. No fish. Maybe it’s time to go back to racing camels?
It’s not just dumping construction wastes in the Persian Gulf that’s killing delicate coral formations these days. Now, the Sheikdom’s fishermen are complaining that their catches are much lower than expected. Bahrain’s Gulf Daily News says the fishing industry has collapsed. And the fisherman’s tales of woe appear to be linked to those affecting the coral reefs in that part of the Persian Gulf. The problem is land reclamation, coastal erosion (which we’ve written about here) and sand dredging by construction companies, according to the fishermen.
The problem is not entirely caused by greedy construction companies, however according to Bahrain’s Environment Friends Society president Khawla Al Muhannadi who says that the problem the fishermen face is also the result of over fishing: there are too many fishing boats on the water:
“The environment legislation (against over fishing) that is existing should be applied, for example – during the shrimping season to people who are still fishing. They are not the professional ones – they are illegal!” says Muhannadi.
Too many fishermen chasing too little fish is a growing problem all over; and was pointed out recently in a Green Prophet post dealing with over-fishing for bluefin tuna. It is feared that the blue fin may one day soon become extinct.
The Persian Gulf is not by far the only body of water where fishermen are complaining. Over fishing is causing big problems in many bodies of water, especially in the Eastern Mediterranean as well as in fresh water lakes like the Sea of Galilee. The Israeli government recently closed the lake to commercial fishing due to a serious depletion of fish stocks such as tilapia (St. Peter’s Fish), and mullet
Pollution is also taking its tow of marine fish populations in the region, especially off the coasts of Lebanon where fishermen are catching fewer fish due to raw sewage and garbage being channeled or dumped into the sea.
Even local sport fishermen are not having the luck they used to have as it seems that fewer fish are being caught these days, especially to an annual influx of jellyfish, known to many of the locals as meduzot (medusa).
Marine biologists are saying that these large numbers of jellyfish are being caused by a combination of factors, including increased salinity of the water and over fishing, which eliminates many of the jelly fish’s natural predators.
Over fishing can well be understood, as fisherman seem to string out their nets all over and haul in anything that swims. This problem must also be occurring in the waters off Bahrain, but that so little, as is the case in the Middle East is being reported on it. How long will it be before a moratorium of commercial fishing is imposed there too, due simply to there not being sufficient quantities of fish to catch? Let’s hope for the environment’s sake.
Photo: via sake vanderwall
Read more environmental and fishing issues in the Persian Gulf and elsewhere:
Japanese Ponder Ban on Bluefin Tuna Fishing
Commercial Fishing in Mediterranean Endangering Dolphins
Construction Waste Dumping off Bahrain Killing Delicate Coral<