New fishing licenses to further diminish already scant supply

New fishing licenses to further diminish already scant supply

KUWAIT CITY, Feb 29: Dr. Mohsen Al- Husseini, the Director of the Ecosystem- Based Marine Resources Management Program at the Kuwait Institute for Scientific Research, has affirmed that issuing additional fishing licenses will not bolster the local fish supply. Instead, it will further diminish the already scant stock, potentially leading to its extinction. Moreover, this action would exacerbate environmental disturbances, jeopardizing Kuwait’s marine resources, reports Al-Rai daily .

Fishermen pull out a net loaded with fish.

Al-Husseini’s remarks respond to the Ministry of Trade and Industry’s appeal for new fishing licenses. He points out that fish stocks have been steadily declining since 2,000, as evidenced by data from the Central Administration of Statistics and marine surveys conducted by the Kuwait Institute for Scientific Research between 2007 and 2017. Referencing a project initiated by the Institute and supported by the Kuwait Foundation for the Advancement of Sciences, Al-Husseini sheds light on the underlying causes of plummeting catches and the degradation of fish stocks. Analysis of available data has identified overfishing as the primary culprit, wherein the number of fishing vessels surpasses the sustainable capacity of the fish population.

Al-Husseini underscores that the depletion of fish stocks is attributable to an excessive fleet of fishing vessels. Additionally, he highlights other factors contributing to the deterioration of Kuwait’s marine environment, including elevated sea water salinity, diminished primary productivity, and the destruction or contraction of marine habitats, particularly due to excessive use of bottom trawl nets for shrimp fishing. These factors collectively have led to a significant reduction in the current fish stock, meeting only 15 percent of the local demand through fishing activities alone.

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