The UAE authorities have warned all national fishermen against fishing in the waters of any of the neighbouring countries.
As per a circular issued recently, fishing licences will be confiscated permanently if any fisherman trespasses the regional waters of any other country.
The circular came after boats owned by national fishermen were impounded by the marine patrols of a neighbouring country.
The Critical Infrastructure and Coastal Protection Authority, in a circular, said erring fishermen who insist on trespassing on the regional waters of other countries may be liable to piracy or detention.
A similar circular was issued by the Federation of Fishermen Societies and distributed to all fishermen societies so that they can avoid legal action.
Hussain Al Hajiri, Chairman, the UAQ Fishermen Society, said several fishermen were recently arrested for fishing in the waters of other countries, and were even attacked by pirates.
“The circular is aimed at protecting our national fishermen since the authorities concerned have had to exert much effort to release fishermen detained by a neighbouring country after they encroached on its regional waters.”
Such a stringent punishment is necessary so as not to embarrass the country among neighbouring states, he added.
He added that the UAQ Fishermen Society has alerted all the licenced fishermen in the emirate, and raised awareness on the restrictions.
“The fishermen were also enlightened about the best fishing seasons and fishing tools and nets allowed, and also a variety of affordable services, particularly maintenance.
Al Hajiri said some fishermen are so reckless that they go fishing 150km off the UAE coasts resulting in detention, hefty fines, confiscation of the vessel, and withdrawal of fishing license.
“A variety of fishes are now approaching our coasts in large numbers and there is no need to go fishing at long distances or trespass the regional waters of other countries.”
Early last year, the Iranian authorities detained several UAE boats for fishing in its regional waters. The most recent of these was the detentions of four Emiratis and four Asians, as well as three other fishing yachts.
The UAE authorities managed to release them, but only after the payment of hefty fines. Some fishermen were even detained for long periods of up to two months.