View of part of the Fujairah Corniche and the Hajar Mountains in the Background

Thursday, April 12, 2007

Dead Fish, Oil and the Fujairah Beaches

A regular reader of this Experiencing the Emirates site has written today in response to my previous articles entitled, Extra Oily Fish in Fujairah, Further Fish Deaths in Fujairah and Further Fishy Stories from Fujairah.

This person who lives in Singapore asks, ‘How are the Fujairah beaches now following the oil spill?”

Last Friday morning there were large areas of oil on the beach (north of the Hilton Hotel). We are still trying to get the oil and sand combo off our shoes.

Earlier this week there were stretches where there were lots of oil globules. These have gradually disappeared over the last few days.

The beaches do look much better but looks can be deceiving and oil takes a long time to break up, especially when it is untreated.

Today there were lots of little fish washed up on the beach, although it is difficult to ascertain whether this was due to an ominous cause or whether these were fish that escaped the net when it was pulled onto the beach.

Low down on the mud flats this morning I found a mobile phone (pictured) which was caked in oil and sand.

I visited the official at the Environment Management Division of the Fujairah Municipality. He was still of the view that the carpets of dead, small fish last week were the result of the mismanagement of fishermen. I told him of the presence of large fish that had died on the beach the day before and in subsequent days, the visible signs of oil in the water, on the beach and on our shoes. I left the phone with him so that he could see the oil.

The official said that his department is hamstrung regarding the investigation of oil spills out in the deep. His jurisdiction extends 10-12 kilometres out from the beach so it is over to the police to deal with tankers further out in the sea. This seems to be a difficulty especially as the Sharjah Municipality is currently probing into oil spills reported by residents and fishermen out from Kalba beach. He also said that his department regularly tests the water to check on levels of oil and other impurities.

Thanks for the enquiry. It is good to know that international readers are concerned about our Fujairah beaches, the fishing industry and the marine life.

Geoff Pound

Image: The mobile phone found today on the Fujairah beach. It is a Nokia phone. If it is yours you can collect it from the Environment Desk at the Fujairah Municipality.