Vol XXVIII   NO. 152      Friday      19 August 2005

New plea to save marine life

HOLIDAYMAKERS and fishermen are being urged not to dump rubbish into the sea in an effort to protect Bahrain's marine life.Nylon nets, plastic bags and food containers are causing serious problems for fish and other sea life such as dolphins and sea turtles, said fisheries and marine resources director Jassim Al Qaseer.

"People should understand that items which may not seem dangerous to them could kill these creatures," he said.

"Sea turtles could choke on a nylon bag thinking it's a jellyfish."

Mr Al Qaseer added that dolphins are also being threatened by fishing nets, which can entangle and suffocate them.

"Dumping oil and other toxins from boat maintenance is also lethal to marine life," he said. However, Mr Al Qaseer said the fish are coping well with the heat this summer with many moving to cooler, deeper waters.

"They are okay as long as the weather keeps on cooling down with the wind every couple of days," he said.

"But if the heat intensifies and stays like that for weeks the coral reefs will be bleached - causing a major problem."

When the coral gets bleached from the sun it dies off, which leaves other sea creatures with nowhere to feed.

Meanwhile, Mr Al Qaseer said marine life is flourishing near artificial Reef Balls that were dropped in the sea in 2002.

He said this latest type of artificial reef is basically made up of different sized concrete balls with holes, which provide a natural underwater habitat.

They were placed in locations that were known not to support any life in the hope that plants, plankton and other weeds would settle on them - giving fish ideal places to live and feed.

"We are visiting the sites regularly to monitor the situation and are planning on adding more reef balls soon following this success," he said.

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