Dr Thani Bin Ahmad Al Zeyoudi, Minister of Climate Change and Environment at the launch event. Image Credit: Supplied

Dubai: The Ministry of Climate Change and Environment on Saturday launched ‘Fujairah Cultured Coral Reef Gardens’, the largest project of its kind in the UAE, in collaboration with Fujairah Municipality, Dibba Fujairah Municipality and the Fujairah Adventures.

The project is set to include the cultivation of 1.5 million coral reef colonies over the next five years.

Dr Thani Bin Ahmad Al Zeyoudi, Minister of Climate Change and Environment, said the project, which spans 300,000 square metres, will significantly boost the sustainability of fish stocks, safeguarding food diversity and food security in the country.

“The protection of fish within the coral reefs will allow it to breed and grow. The ministry is keen on promoting the project as an ecotourism destination. It is also anticipated to encourage the spirit of volunteerism and community work as the cultivation of the coral reefs will depend heavily on the volunteering efforts of the youth.”

It will also contribute to increasing the income of the fishermen — nearly 7,000 fishermen in 1,700 fishing boats work in the area.

Hassan Salem Al Yammahi, director of Dibba Fujairah Municipality, said: “Under the leadership of His Highness Shaikh Hamad Bin Mohammad Al Sharqi, Ruler of Fujairah and Member of the Supreme Council, the Fujairah government has made sustainable development and preservation of our marine environment for future generations a top priority. In this context, the Emiri Decree No. 1 of 1995 identified three select coastal areas in Fujairah as marine protected areas in order to preserve and grow fish stocks, provide a natural habitat for breeding fish, and protect coral reefs from human exploitation. This was the first project of its kind in the UAE. A protected area in Dadna was created in 2013 as part of the Al Bayt Mitwahid initiative.”