Dive Bahrain: illegal shrimp-trawling vessels cause damage to dive park

Manama, Dive Bahrain today announced that illegal shrimp-trawling vessels entered the protected boundaries of the dive site causing major damage to the underwater attraction. The authorities are working to identify the vessels in question, which were in breach of Ministerial Order (205) for 2018, banning fishing using trawling nets, and the notice to mariners issued by the Ports and Maritime Affairs Authority (PMA) (177/2019) of July 8, 2019, which mandates a two nautical mile exclusion zone around the submerged attractions.

His Excellency the Minister of Industry, Commerce and Tourism Zayed R. Alzayani said While the dive site sustained damage, work continues to build the largest underwater park which will continue to provide a thrilling diving experience for those who visit and, more importantly, a viable habitat for local marine species.

His Excellency announced that an investigation is underway using detailed radar and tracking data to identify the vessels. An investigation by a team of specialised marine investigators identified clear evidence, both on the fuselage of the submerged aircraft and the seabed, that points to a collision between the fuselage and heavy trawling nets.

Commenting on this issue, His Excellency Dr. Mohamed Mubarak Bin Daina, Chief Executive of the Supreme Council of the Environment remarked that ”This incident serves as further evidence of the profoundly negative effect fishing with trawling nets has on the seabed ecosystems, reefs and on the marine environment overall.

A Dive Bahrain spokesman confirmed that work is already underway to remedy the damage caused. He added The enormously positive response Dive Bahrain has received, locally, regionally and internationally, had already accelerated work on the other pre-planned elements of the dive park including a replica of a traditional pearl merchant’s house, sunken ships and sail structures. But this incident has encouraged us to add even more elements, bolstering the uniqueness of Dive Bahrain’s offering and, of course, expanding the potential habitats for marine life. Stay tuned for more exciting announcements in the near future from Dive Bahrain.

Since its official opening in September 2019, Dive Bahrain has had an overwhelmingly positive response from around the world and the site continues to be a key area of focus for Team Bahrain. Amateur and professional divers from more than 50 countries have thus far made the journey to Dive Bahrain, which offers a truly unique wreck-diving experience. Once completed, the 100,000m2 Dive Bahrain site will be the world’s largest underwater dive park, and a key addition to the Kingdom’s growing tourism sector.

Source: Bahrain News Agency