Spearfishing in the UAE
Over the past few years the popularity of freedive spearfishing has exploded in the UAE and across the Middle East. A large part of it may be due to fishing and freediving being deeply rooted in Emirati and Arabian history and culture. Nonetheless, UAE authorities are taking the lead through the Environment Agency Abu Dhabi (EAD) to begin the introduction of regulations to better manage this exciting sport’s growth. Under the leadership of Dr. Sheikha Al Dhaheri, Executive Director of the Terrestrial and Marine Biodiversity Sector of EAD and her team consisting of Ayesha Yousef Al Blooshi – Marine Biodiversity Director and Winston Cowie – Marine Policy Manager and recreational spearfisherman, the first spearshing workshop was held at the EAD of offices to discuss the proposed future management measures for spearfishing in Abu Dhabi Emirate’s marine area, which accounts for the majority of the marine area of the UAE.
Is spearfishing legal?
Today spearfishing is legal and regulated across the world in 90% of coastal countries, from the cold waters of Norway and Denmark to the warm waters of Indonesia and Australia.
It is agreed globally that spearfishing can be defined as an “underwater fishing technique by the means of a breath hold dive while using a mechanical fishing harpoon (speargun)”.
In most countries with spearfishing regulations, spearfishermen are required to hold a valid spearfishing license, which he or she gets against a fee and as acknowledgement of the rules and bag limits.
As with any type of marine harvesting spearfishing regulations globally outline restrictions on quantities, species and size.
Although the UAE does not have known list of restricted fish, many spearfishermen should take head of fish species on the red list below which provides spearfishermen with an idea of which species are heavily over shed by commercial fishing.
What is the One Breath Freediving and Spearfishing Expo?
The One Breath Dive Expo is set to take place at the Dubai World Trade Centre on January 12th – 13th 2018 and will feature the top names in diving and spearfishing from around the world.
The most important dive event in the Middle East attracts visitors from the UAE and neighbouring countries, providing a platform for the Middle East’s scuba diving, freediving and spearfishing enthusiasts as well as dive professionals and business owners to gather alongside the latest brands and products on the market.
“Our ultimate goal is to have one of the largest dive exhibitions in the world that gathers the major dive players from the Far East, Africa, Europe and the Middle East here in Dubai” said Zarir Saifuddin founder of the exhibition. “This in turn will undoubtedly increase the popularity of dive sports such as scuba, freediving and spearfishing in the UAE and the greater region. We’re now entering our third edition and this is our biggest expo yet in terms of both exhibition space, the number of exhibitors and an international dive competition we are soon to announce”.
One Breath Expo is a part of the 2018 Extreme Sports Expo taking place at the Dubai World Trade Center 12th to 13th January 2018.
Admission is AED30 per day, AED40 for a weekend pass and children under 12 are free. Show hours are 10 a.m. to 10 p.m. on Friday and 10 a.m. to 9 p.m. on Saturday.