Abu Dhabi: The Emirates Wildlife Society, in Association with the World Wide Fund for Nature (EWS-WWF), are launching the ‘Choose Wisely' campaign to raise awareness of the need to replace overfished local species with more environment-friendly options.

Seven types of UAE fish such as the hammour and kingfish face the risk of extinction. About 81 per cent of the world's main fish stocks are currently considered fully exploited and depleted.

The campaign's main goal is to address the impact of overfishing in the UAE and on the environment.

A survey of 1,050 UAE residents revealed that 66 per cent of UAE residents eat fish at least once a week.

About 70 per cent have indicated a desire to buy fish tagged as friendly or endangered while buying or ordering seafood at a restaurant and 69 per cent are ready to buy and order fish only from friendly environment outlets.

Awareness drive

Studies show that the number of commercial fish in the country has declined by 80 per cent since 1978.

The EWS is launching this movement to foster awareness among consumers, inviting all stakeholders to take action.

A group of five-star hotels — namely the Sheraton, Royal Meridien, Le Meridien, Sheraton Khalidiya and Aloft hotels — were the first hotels to join this campaign as part of efforts to increase awareness of the need for sustainability in the hospitality industry.

Starting early in 2011 guests at these hotels will find special ‘Choose Wisely' buffet tags in the hotels' restaurants, special icons on menus and diverse educational material in all participating outlets.

Fish species marked as ‘green' are considered a sustainable choice with plenty of stock available in the UAE.

‘Red' marks, on the other hand identify threatened species and thus advise customers to reconsider their selection and "choose wisely".