Fishing is an industry that is of great importance in the UAE. For many years, fishing has occurred on a commercial scale and also for more recreational purposes, and the activity of fishing holds a significant weight and traditional value. The country does not have the ideal climate and soil to allow for great agricultural gains, though it does have the sea.

While there are specific regulations in place for commercial entities wishing to fish in the nation’s waters, recreational spearfishing is not covered under any existing law. However, considering the ideas of overfishing and regulating the species found in the country, the more regulations in place, the more power the government has to ensure the security of their fishing industry.

Abu Dhabi is the country’s leader when it comes to the fishing industry, and so they have seen fit to introduce new regulations regarding spearfishing, and they are also considering further changes to implement in the future.

The New Law and Potential Future Regulations

The law that will soon cover the matter of spearfishing will introduce a few concepts. Firstly, to fish, one will have to obtain a license. Many jurisdictions require people to get permits before they can fish on any non-private property, and that includes the sea. The UAE now also has such a requirement.

Further to this, fishing and catching endangered species will be prohibited. Any caught will have to be released back into the water. This conservation method will hopefully allow for these species to recover from overfishing in time.

In time, there may also arise limitations on the sizes of fish catchable, with the small and very young being prohibited to fish to allow for them to mature and mate. Further, fishing in restricted areas such as public beaches and near oil and gas extraction structures may also receive bans through legislation.

The content of this article is intended to provide a general guide to the subject matter. Specialist advice should be sought about your specific circumstances.