Ministry of Climate Change and Environment Rescues Juvenile Whale Shark Lost in Dubai Creek

Carries out joint operation with Dubai Police, Marine Environment Protection Association

Dubai-UAE: 02 August, 2018 – The Ministry of Climate Change and Environment (MOCCAE) collaborated with Dubai Police and the Marine Environment Protection Association in carrying out a rescue operation to return to the sea a juvenile whale shark that lost its way in Dubai Creek, near Al Jaddaf area.

On receiving a notification about the sighting of the 3-meter long fish in Dubai Creek, a team of expert divers and employees from MOCCAE’s Biodiversity Department reached the scene. They developed a rescue plan with minimal risks, factoring in the shark’s state of fear and anxiety. Divers tasked with the rescue split up into three groups onboard two boats. Five exhausting hours later, they managed to get the juvenile whale shark on to a stretcher that extended below the water between the two boats and extracted it from the Creek, before moving it slowly back into the Arabian Gulf.

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Hiba Al Shehhi, Acting Director of the Biodiversity Department at MOCCAE, said: “I thank everyone who was involved in the rescue operation. The collaboration among the teams was exemplary and saved the scared baby shark.”

She pointed out that earlier this year, MOCCAE launched the National Plan of Action (NPOA) for the Conservation and Management of Sharks 2018-2021, which presents concrete steps to conserve and sustain the 72-known species of sharks that consider the UAE home.

Coinciding with the launch of the Plan, she added, MOCCAE issued the UAE Shark Assessment Report, the first national overview of shark research and protective measures to safeguard shark populations in the UAE. The document offers a valuable database to support the execution of NPOA.

For his part, Lieutenant Colonel Rashid Thani Al Ayel, Head of the Maritime Security Section at the Port Police Station, Dubai Police, who oversaw the rescue operation, applauded the efforts of the teams at MOCCAE and the Marine Environment Protection Association.

He said: “Under the directives of Major General Pilot Ahmed Mohammed bin Thani, Acting Commander-in-Chief of Dubai Police, we participated in this rescue operation. Transporting the juvenile whale shark across a distance of 13-kilometers from Dubai Creek to the Arabian Gulf was a highly delicate and strenuous process, and everyone involved was incredibly patient. Seeing the shark safely back in its natural habitat was worth all the trouble.”

About the UAE Ministry of Climate Change and Environment

The Ministry of Climate Change and Environment was established in February 2006 as the Ministry of Environment and Water. The Ministry acquired its new name following the UAE Cabinet reshuffle in February 2016 and the subsequent integration of the climate change function.

Under its redefined scope, the Ministry has taken on a dual mandate. On the national level, the Ministry aims to strengthen the UAE’s efforts in preserving the environment and promoting food diversity in accordance with the nation’s aspiration to emerge as a key benchmark for sustainable development. On the global level, the Ministry of Climate Change and Environment is working collaboratively with international stakeholders in combating climate change and highlighting the UAE’s path-breaking achievements in the sector at thought leadership platforms worldwide.

For further details, please contact us: Media@moccae.gov.ae

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