ABU DHABI // The United Nations has recognised Bu Tinah archipelago as one of the most important sanctuaries for turtles in the Indian Ocean.
The shoal, 150 kilometres off the west coast of Abu Dhabi, is home to two endangered species – the green and hawksbill turtles.
It is now under the protection of the UN Environment Programme’s Indian Ocean – South-East Asian Turtle pact.
“I am extremely delighted to learn that Bu Tinah shoal and its biodiversity is being recognised globally,” said Sheikh Hamdan bin Zayed, Ruler’s Representative in the Western Region and chairman of the Environment Agency Abu Dhabi, or Ead.
“It is a matter of pride for the country and its rich culture of preserving natural resources.”
UAE laws prohibit fishing and watersports in Bu Tinah shoal and surrounding waters.
Dr Douglas Hykle, coordinator of the programme, said: “Bu Tinah’s official certification will hopefully bring about an even greater appreciation among the authorities and the general public of the area’s richness in biodiversity.
“It should also help to stimulate even closer ties and cooperation with other network sites that have similar conservation challenges and needs.”
In Abu Dhabi, the turtles nest on at least 17 islands from March to June. Ead found about 5,750 sea turtles live in Abu Dhabi’s waters during winter and 6,900 in summer.
The water’s harsh temperatures and high salinity makes the island an important location and a living laboratory for climate-change studies.
Bu Tinah is one of only 10 sites in nine countries around the Indian Ocean to have received this distinction.
The Bu Tinah shoal, which has been managed and monitored by Ead since 2000, is a core area in the established Marawah Marine Biosphere Reserve, the first and largest Unesco Man and Biosphere marine site in the region.
The shoal is also home to the protected dugong.
Source: uae news