Image Credit: Supplied

The Ministry of Climate Change and Environment (MOCCAE) collaborated with Dubai Police and the Marine Environment Protection Association to return a young whale shark back into the sea. Reportedly, the shark lost its way in Dubai Creek, near Al Jaddaf area.

On receiving a notification about the sighting of the 3-meter long fish in Dubai Creek, a team of expert divers and employees from MOCCAE’s Biodiversity Department reached the scene. They developed a rescue plan with minimal risks, factoring in the shark’s state of fear and anxiety.

Dr. Thani Bin Ahmed Al Zeyoudi, Minister for Climate Change and Environment tweeted on Wednesday: “Yesterday, I followed closely the rescue operation to return to the sea a juvenile whale #shark that lost its way in #Dubai Creek. The joint efforts, collaboration & team work of #MoCCaE experts and @DubaiPoliceHQ made us proud.”

Divers tasked with the rescue split up into three groups onboard two boats. Five exhausting hours later, they managed to get the juvenile whale shark on to a stretcher that extended below the water between the two boats and extracted it from the Creek, before moving it slowly back into the Arabian Gulf.     

Hiba Al Shehhi, Acting Director of the Biodiversity Department at MOCCAE, said: “I thank everyone who was involved in the rescue operation. The collaboration among the teams was exemplary and saved the scared baby shark.”

She pointed out that earlier this year, MOCCAE launched the National Plan of Action (NPOA) for the Conservation and Management of Sharks 2018-2021, which presents concrete steps to conserve and sustain the 72-known species of sharks that consider the UAE home.

For his part, Lieutenant Colonel Rashid Thani Al Ayel, Head of the Maritime Security Section at the Port Police Station, Dubai Police, who oversaw the rescue operation, applauded the efforts of the teams at MOCCAE and the Marine Environment Protection Association.

He said: “Under the directives of Major General Pilot Ahmed Mohammed bin Thani, Acting Commander-in-Chief of Dubai Police, we participated in this rescue operation. Transporting the juvenile whale shark across a distance of 13-kilometers from Dubai Creek to the Arabian Gulf was a highly delicate and strenuous process, and everyone involved was incredibly patient. Seeing the shark safely back in its natural habitat was worth all the trouble.”