By Rayya Al Muheisen – Dec 30,2023

Fishing suspension is set to commence from the first Monday of January in the upcoming year until the evening of April 30, 2024 (Aqaba Marine Park file photo)

AMMAN — In response to growing environmental concerns, the Aqaba Special Economic Zone Authority (ASEZA) has declared a comprehensive suspension of fishing, encompassing both professional and recreational activities, for a duration of four months.  

 Ayman Suliman, ASEZA’s environment commissioner told The Jordan Times that the suspension, set to commence from the first Monday of January in the upcoming year until the evening of April 30, 2024, is aimed to “safeguard resident fish species during a critical phase of their life cycle, particularly for reproduction and egg-laying”.

 “The decision was undertaken in accordance with Royal directives aimed at securing Aqaba’s inclusion on UNESCO’s list,” Suliman said. 

 Suliman said that this is not the first time to implement this decision which aims to preserve marine life and ecosystem in Aqaba.  

“This decision reflects the collaborative endeavours of the authority with fishing associations. The aim is to preserve the rich marine life in the Gulf of Aqaba, bolster reproduction and contribute to the sustainability of fish stocks and the preservation of unique marine ecosystems,” he said. 

The decision is grounded in the regulations for fishing and aquatic organisms in the Gulf of Aqaba, as stipulated in 2020 (Z/1) and its associated appendices. 

Amidst these regulatory measures, concerns have been raised by a local fisherman who contends that the financial compensation offered is insufficient.  

Abu Jafar, a fisherman in Aqaba told The Jordan Times that the compensation, which amounts to JD400, is not enough.  

In response, Suliman asserted that the compensation was determined in coordination with stakeholders representing the fishermen community in Aqaba, ensuring fair consideration of their needs and concerns. 

During the suspension period, licensed fishermen and pleasure boats are permitted to catch only migratory fish, such as various tuna species and horse mackerel. Prohibitions extend to the use of metal traps and shrimp nets on licensed professional and recreational fishing boats, with an allowance for nets designated solely for collecting bait, along with threads and fishing lines. 

The authority underscored the strict enforcement of environmental protection regulations, including legal penalties and vessel seizure for violations. Cooperation with citizens, professional, and recreational fishermen is deemed crucial in implementing these instructions, with the potential to positively impact the fishing sector in Aqaba by ensuring sustainable quantities for the months ahead. 

Suliman added that this decision serves to bolster the sustainability of unique marine ecosystems, preserving their biological diversity in the Gulf of Aqaba and the Aqaba Marine Protected Area.