Sand dredging ‘killing Bahrain marine life’
Manama, February 20, 2013
Sand dredging and land reclamation in Bahrain could be killing marine life, including dolphins, according to a top official.
They change maritime routes and cause sea creatures to lose their way, get stuck in shallow waters and die on the shore, said Public Commission for the Protection of Marine Resources, Environment and Wildlife marine resources director-general Jassim Al Qassir.
He was speaking after a dead dolphin was found near Amwaj Islands on February 20, our sister newspaper, the Gulf Daily News reported.
"Dredging and reclamation could lead to changes in water currents - something that can confuse animals like dolphins," he told the GDN.
"They follow a route known for years but when such work happens, it can lead them to lose their way and end up at the coast.
"Their nerve system gets confused and this leads to them being stuck in the coast and committing what we call a 'semi-suicide'."
Al Qassir suspected the dolphin found at Amwaj too faced a similar fate and because it could not find its way back to sea, it stayed close to the shore where it eventually died.
"Whales, as well as salmon, go through similar scenarios when routes are changed due to dredging and reclamation," he added.
However, he explained that other reasons could also lead to inhumane deaths of marine life, and demanded a probe into methods used by fishermen to catch their prey.
"Some creatures such as dolphins get trapped in their nets and they treat them cruelly," he said.
"We urge fishermen to be more careful when dealing with sea creatures."
Bahraini fisherman Ali Yateem, who found the dead mammal, said he spotted two more dolphins floating near the shore on the same day.
"We were sailing through the area when we saw a weird body on the shore," he said.
"Upon coming close, we saw the dead dolphin and called environmental activists who, with the co-operation of the commission, took action.”
"We also alerted them on the other two dolphins we saw."
The dolphin, which was buried in Askar, allegedly did not have any signs of injuries on its body, Yateem added.
However, no details were revealed on the other two.
"Upon examining it, no visible injuries were spotted on the body," he said.
"We are waiting for the investigation to reveal the cause of death and see why it happened.”
"This is not the first time I see a dead sea creature and I wonder what could be the cause of this." Fishermen in Bahrain have held several protests against sand dredging and land reclamation, claiming they affected sea resources and decreased fish stock.
The demonstrations have led to the issue of a decree amending the law on regulating fishing and exploiting and protecting marine resources in September last year. – TradeArabia News Service