New Legislation
Future Developments


New Developments

The Ministry of Agriculture and Fisheries issued two decisions in the Official Gazette of September 2001: Ministerial Decision 277 of 2001 Regarding Fish Farming in Fresh and Sea Waters under the Jurisdiction of the State, and Ministerial Decision 302 of 2001 Issuing the Implementing Regulations for Federal Law 23 of 1999 Concerning the Use and Protection of Living Water Resources.

Ministerial Decision 277 regulates fish farming in the United Arab Emirates. Its provisions cover:

  • the siting of fish farms with regard to sources of pollution that may impact on them;
  • the storage and preparation of fish feed;
  • the maintenance of fish farms; and
  • other issues pertaining to farms' management and operation.

Ministerial Decision 302 sets out the conditions and procedures for obtaining a fishing licence. Licences are restricted to UAE nationals or their entities. Fishing boats must be licensed by the Ministry of Agriculture and Fisheries.

The decision prohibits:

  • fishing in certain designated areas, including fish breeding grounds, nature reserves and areas in which there are oil and gas pipelines, and telecommunications lines;
  • the use of explosives and certain types of netting; and
  • fishing during certain designated periods.

Other provisions concern the purpose of fishing, the payment of fees and prohibitions against fishing for endangered species. Prior approval must be sought for competitive fishing. Commercial fish farming is restricted to:

  • UAE nationals;
  • entities that are at least 51% owned by UAE nationals;
  • fishermen's cooperatives; and
  • scientific bodies.

The hunting of most types of mammal (including turtles) is prohibited.

Future Developments

Although there have been few substantive legislative changes in the domestic environmental sector, there has been widespread coverage of environmental matters in the UAE press. An executive order to be made under Federal Law 24 of 1999 regarding the Protection and Development of the Environment is likely to be issued shortly. It is in the final stages of review and is expected to include stringent conservation measures for medical and hazardous waste, and the licensing of its handling and disposal. It will also contain terms and conditions for the importation, transportation, storage and disposal of hazardous chemical materials.

The Federal Environment Agency has prepared draft legislation on the importation, use and production of pesticides and fertilizers. A number of pesticides are expected to be proscribed.

Other draft laws that the agency is preparing are thought to cover:

  • air pollution;
  • protection of nature reserves;
  • general environmental specifications; and
  • standards and laws to combat desertification.

In June 2001 the agency signed the United Nations Convention on Persistent Organic Pollutants, which is designed to regulate the production, circulation and use of pollutants, and to curb the hazards posed by them.

Finally, a Dubai municipality's local order concerning environmental protection awaits signature by the Municipality Council. The order will require industrialists and investors in the emirate to submit environmental impact studies to the municipality, and will contain conditions that must be satisfied prior to the granting of business licences.


For further information on this topic please contact Peter Michelmore or Carla Busato at Al-Sayegh Richards Butler by telephone (+971 2 631 3010) or by fax (+971 2 631 2155) or by email ([email protected] or [email protected]).