A safer marine environment thanks to IUCN member "JREDS"

The field work of the Royal Marine Conservation Society (JREDS) paid last week with two recorded successes. The Society is a major actor in the marine environment in Jordan focusing on sustainable management of Jordanian coastline and marine environment. The Jordanian coast is 27 km long and mainly composed of coral reefs. These particularly sensible organisms face different threats from coral traffic to ships pollution or bleaching due to climate change.

Grounded cargo on the beach of Aqaba

Last week, JREDS team has helped the police to arrest coral cutters. A suspicious boat was spotted during a monitoring patrol. Crew members were extracting objects from the sea. Subsequently JREDS members have notified facts to Environmental Police Department that promptly had interfered to stop the cutting and had arrested delinquents who have prepared a vehicle containing aquariums fitted with oxygen pumps to keep the coral alive.

Reefs in Aqaba are famous among divers and marine biologists throughout the world. Corals have a wide range array of colors from blue to red. The coral beauty arouses collectors and aquarium holder's interest. The Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species in Wild Fauna and Flora has established a list of coral which can be trade only under special authorizations. Despite the efforts of the CITES convention, a part of the marine aquarium trade is supplied by removing these animals from their habitats.

The confiscation included 17 pieces from different species, including Favia, Lobophyllia, Acropora and Sarcophyton. All these varieties integrated in the CITES Convention. Corals were placed in special aquariums at the Marine Science Station and will be afterward replant in their original milieu. The Environment Protection Law stipulates punishments for those who cut, transport or trade coral. Suspects face six to 12 months in jail, in addition to a JD 10, 000-JD 12, 000 fine.

JREDS recorded another success with the transfer of a grounded vessel from the Aqaba beach to the port to be dismantled. The 80-metre-long cargo called “Shorouq” was swept ashore during a storm February last year, and remained grounded till last week. The society was lobbying on authorities to remove the ship from the northern beach of Aqaba.

JREDS was afraid of possible consequences of the beached ship on environment. Oil leaking and bad maintenance could adverse the flora and fauna of the area. The battle was rude among experts, the owner and the authorities. The boat owner changed during the process and many attempts were made to tow the vessel out to sea. The imminent opening of a new hotel in front of the boat had certainly accelerated the process.

Although the issue has taken one year to be resolved JREDS highlights on future. The vessel is envisioned to help Aqaba further extension of its coral reef in the northern area. JREDS has already studied different locations were the cargo could be shrunk and used as an artificial reef. Meanwhile all insurance must be taken before using the vessel as a tourist attraction regarding as eliminate all hazardous products and being aware of the ship body life period.

IUCN West Asia /Middle East (WAME) Regional Office congratulates the Royal Marine Conservation Society for its efforts to raise awareness on marine issues in the region and resolve the challenges facing marine biodiversity.

For further information contact Mr. Sharaiha, director of JREDS sharaiha@jreds.org or IUCN West Asia Marine officer Mr. Eltayeb mohamed.eltayeb@iucn.org

West Asia
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