DOHA: The Ministry of Environment has foiled bids to market contaminated fish that were bred in drainage water, thus diluting a serious threat to public health.
An agile Ministry swung into action following public complaints that some stocks of contaminated fish were available in the market.
Senior officials from the Ministry said they seized large stocks of these fish that were bred in contaminated drainage water.
The incident took place a little earlier and samples were apparently sent for laboratory tests and the matter was taken to court through the Public Prosecution, said the officials.
“These fish stocks weren’t caught from the sea but were rather sourced from drainage water, so we referred the matter to Public Prosecution,” said Eisa Al Kuwari.
Head of marine environment protection section at the Ministry, Al Kuwari hinted that some nasty elements were trying to market these contaminated fish stocks locally.
He said the Ministry is always vigilant and closely monitors not only the boats that venture into the water to catch fish but also the local sea food supply chain.
“We have inspectors who are always on a prowl in the coastal areas and check boats, fishing nets as well as equipment to ensure they comply with our standards and specifications,” said Al Kuwari.
He said since the rule that Qatari owners must accompany fishing boats came into force, the number of violations of fishing regulations had come down substantially.
Then, there are land patrol teams that keep a close eye on sales points to catch violations of health and environment rules.
Al Kuwari and another senior official from the environment ministry, Umar Al Naimi, were speaking at a Ramadan symposium organized by Al Sharq recently.
Replying to questions, Al Kuwari said extensive laws were in place to regulate fishing and punish violators.
However, what holds the key to making sure that the law is strictly complied with is public awareness.
“We are raising awareness and our effort has met with tremendous success as violations are coming down.”
He said action is taken against those who deliberately flout rules.
Citing an example, Al Kuwari said that earlier some 68 breaches of fishing rules were detected every month on average but now this number had come down to 25.
Talking of their ministry’s other plans, he said Halul and another island were being developed as tourism centre for scuba diving.