Experts working on Qatar’s national master plan have urged the authorities to create a marine protected area for the country.
Talking to The Peninsula here yesterday, a key expert working on the master plan revealed that the panel of experts has impressed upon the authorities the urgent need for Qatar developing a protected zone in its ecologically sensitive marine areas.
“Qatar has many projects to protect its coastal area. There is an immediate need to develop a protected marine zone. The cooperation of different stakeholders is needed for marine protection. It seems the authorities are waiting for their feedback, he said
“The idea is to ease the pressure on Qatar’s fragile marine environment through developing sustainable fishing and marine recreation in the designated area. Terrestrial protection and marine protection make up two major highlights of Qatar’s National Biodiversity Strategy Action Plan (NBSAP) launched in 2004. The eleven-point strategic goals of NBSAP also include sustainable use of marine and coastal resources, desertification and rangelands, desertification and agro-biodiversity, environmental legislation, environmental monitoring and impact assessments and multilateral environmental agreements.
Another key strategy envisaged by NBSAP is aimed at protecting coastal and marine resources through the development of sustainable fishing and sustainable marine recreation. This would require the implementation of a coastal management plan as well as implementation of legislation regulating fishing and other activities that can threaten
Meanwhile, a recently released document on “Conservation in Qatar: Impacts of increasing Industrialization” by Georgetown University’s Center for International and Regional Studies said Qatar has identified three designated protected marine areas.
As of now, Qatar has five designated protected areas for the terrestrial ecosystems. These include the newly designated Al Reem biosphere reserve, Al Thakira, Shahaniya, Khor Al Udaid, Al Weseil, Al Oraiq and Al Mas’habiya. Together they comprise about 18 percent of the total terrestrial area of Qatar. Shahaniya, Al Mas’habiya and Al Isheiriq were wildlife farms developed into captive breeding sites for endangered species.
Currently, a management plan is being developed for the Al Rheem biosphere.
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