EPAA, Emirates Nature-WWF, and EMEG launch Pearl of Sharjah- Sir Bu Nair Project
Sharjah’s Environment and Protected Areas Authority (EPAA), Emirates Nature-WWF and the Emirates Marine Environmental Group (EMEG) held a community launch for Sir Bu Nair Project. The organisations are collaborating on the project that focuses on the conservation of marine ecosystems on Sir Bu Nair island, a biodiverse nature reserve. The event, which was held at Al Majaz Waterfront in Sharjah on January 4th, was well-attended and it raised awareness about Sir Bu Nair’s environmental, cultural and traditional significance.
HE Hana Saif Al Suwaidi, EPAA Chairperson, said, “His Highness Sheikh Dr. Sultan bin Mohammed Al Qasimi, Member of the Supreme Council and Ruler of Sharjah, declared Sir Bu Nair Island a protected nature reserve in 2000. Formerly a haven for pearl divers and fishermen, this island is of ecological, historical, cultural and political significance.”
“The goal is to use Sir Bu Nair Island as a model for the management of the UAE’s Marine Protected Areas (MPAs). We also plan to emphasise the socio-economic and ecological benefits of conserving marine environments. This project will benefit the environment, society and future generations of Emiratis,” explained Mrs. Al Suwaidi.
At the launch, people were invited to upload images to Instagram using the hashtag #pearlofsharjah; their images were used to create a digital mosaic of the pearl-shaped island. One of the participants were given a unique opportunity to win 2 tickets to Sir Bu Nair Festival to witness the natural legacy of the pearl of Sharjah. The attendees thanked EPAA, Emirates Nature-WWF and EMEG for organising the event, which gave them an opportunity to learn about Sir Bu Nair Island and its ecosystems.
Laila Mostafa Abdullatif, Director General of Emirates Nature-WWF who was present on the day of the event, said, “We are thrilled to have joined the Sharjah community with EPAA and EMEG on Friday to shine the spotlight on Sir Bu Nair island and share details of our exciting new expedition. Our research in the field will commence in early 2019 with exploration and surveying of critical marine species and habitats including sharks, rays, fish, birds and corals. Our aim is that our efforts on Sir Bu Nair will be showcased as a national blueprint for Marine Protected Area Management in the UAE”.
Recognised as a Wetland of International Importance under the Ramsar Convention, SBN Island has rich and diverse habitats and species including turtles, birds and coral reefs.
The three-year project is scheduled to start this year, and researchers will explore and survey critical marine habitats and species. During the final phase of the project, EPAA, Emirates Nature-WWF, and EMEG will formulate recommendations for the long-term monitoring and sustainable management of the Marine Protected Areas.