Shark Fishing In The United Arab Emirates: A Conservationist’S Plea For Enhanced Protection And Sustainable Species Management

Riaan Van Der Merwe

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Challenges that relate to shark conservation may well be a combination of the intersection of people’s livelihoods and the ineffectiveness of management strategies. Given the current protection initiatives as well as the implementation of tighter laws restricting hunting and trade, shark conservation is still recognized as a major environmental challenge. The United Arab Emirates (U.A.E.) is used as an export hub and is one of the primary exporters of shark fins to Hong Kong, with a large proportion of fins traded to be from species at high risk of global extinction. The present-day management of shark fisheries also shows shortcomings concerning lawfulness, specifically those relating to regulatory compliance, fishing techniques, and control of finning occurrences. These concerns are not unique to the U.A.E. but emphasize the fact that there are far-reaching problems related to shark conservation. Even in a milieu of strengthened conservation measures and revised legislature, existing information on the effectiveness of a shark finning ban may still be misleading when viewed in the light of over-exploitation and global species abundance. It is therefore important that proper management must be implemented at the inception of shark fisheries. For the U.A.E., this has not always been the case. Instead, the trend was one of limited control and lack of compliance, unfortunately, resulting in a rapid decline in shark abundance, to the point where sharks struggle to recover. This paper focuses on the importance of the species, reviews the current monitoring framework, and seeks to enhance shark protection.

Original languageBritish English
Pages (from-to)613-624
Number of pages12
JournalInternational Journal of Conservation Science
Issue number2
StatePublished - 2021


  • Arabian/Persian Gulf
  • Conservation
  • Environmental regulations
  • Fisheries management
  • Save our Sharks
  • Shark fisheries


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