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18th Apr 13Managed by Chatham House
Financed by DEFRA
EWS-WWF launch awareness campaign promoting sustainable fisheries
Abu Dhabi - The Emirates Wildlife Society (EWS) and World Wildlife Fund (WWF) have launched the "Choose Wisely" campaign, aiming to raise awareness of the status of UAE fish stocks and to promote sustainable fisheries.
Recent surveys conducted by the Emirates Wildlife Society in association with WWF (EWS-WWF) have shown that 66% of the UAE population eat fish at least once a week. With its increasing popularity, the high demand for seafood is putting an increasing pressure on the fish stock, resulting in a noticeable decline of about 80% over the last 3 decades. Hamour, a highly favoured fish in the UAE, is being overfished 7 times beyond its sustainable level, with a decline of 87-92% since 1978, putting it at the top of the overfished species list.
Razan Khalifa Al Mubarak, Managing Director of EWS said: "Fish forms an essential part of our marine ecological system, a stable component in our local diet, while fishing constitutes an important part of our cultural heritage. Many of our forefathers were fishermen, sustaining families and communities from this valuable resource and bringing tales of the sea to our cultural consciousness and memory." It has only been over the last 3 decades, with the commercializing of this sector and habitat destruction, that we have started witnessing an alarming decline in our fish stock, calling for our efforts towards protecting this valuable resource. In sustaining this resource, we will not only protect our precious and fragile marine ecosystem, but we will also conserve part of our cultural heritage. We bring this campaign to the residents of the UAE, aiming to empower them with consumer information about the status of these local valuable species, hoping to inspire them to Choose Wisely."
Aiming to provide people with the necessary knowledge to make an informed and wise choice, a wallet size consumer guide has been developed with the support of Environment Agency- Abu Dhabi (EAD), classifying 19 popular fish types into 3 categories, based on stock assessment studies that have been carried out by scientists at EAD. The guide assigns a colour to each of those categories; red distinguishing overfished types that include many of the popularly consumed fish, such as Shaari, Kanaad, Farsh, and Hamour.
The guide also marks other options with orange and green, giving UAE residents the opportunity to try different types of fish that are available within sustainable levels. This guide will be available in print from EWS -WWF offices, and it can be accessed and downloaded on the campaign's website www.choosewisely.ae. For those who enjoy cooking, a database of recipes based on sustainable fish has been created on www.choosewisely.ae. For the more competitive cooking lovers, the campaign has also launched a 5 month "Sustainable Fish Dish" challenge, encouraging people to come up with recipes for sustainable fish, in order to bring these sustainable varieties of fish closer to what we consider familiar and habitual. Details of the challenge can be found on the campaign website.
The Choose Wisely campaign is supported by the Environment Agency- Abu Dhabi and EWS-WWF is actively seeking sponsors to help raise awareness of this important issue. EWS-WWF is also seeking retailers and restaurants that wish to get on board and become advocates of sustainable fishing, by offering sustainable varieties of local fish as well as making the consumer guide available to their customers.
Majid Al Mansouri, Secretary General of the Environment Agency- Abu Dhabi said: "The Environment Agency - Abu Dhabi is working hand-in-hand with UAE fishing communities to develop well-managed fisheries and create new economic incentives for a sustainable future for fish and other marine life. We welcome the "Choose Wisely" Campaign, bringing awareness closer to the end consumer. They can take part in reducing the demand for the heavily overfished species by choosing other fish, while still maintaining an appetite for eating it. Securing healthy fish populations is essential to protect ocean ecosystems and guarantee that our children inherit a living planet abundant with fish and other marine wildlife."
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Issues/Retail / consumers
Middle East/United Arab Emirates