The Environment Agency – Abu Dhabi (EAD) has announced a landmark achievement in marine research, successfully completing the first phase of its Fisheries Resources Assessment Survey in UAE waters. Utilizing the region’s most sophisticated research vessel, Jaywun, the EAD has also carried out the UAE’s inaugural comprehensive acoustic survey. The two-week study spanned the Arabian Gulf and the Sea of Oman, deploying state-of-the-art technology to assess underwater ecosystems, as well as marine life populations and distributions.
Jaywun’s acoustic survey employed sound waves to gauge the abundance and distribution of fish in the ocean, offering crucial data for sustainable fisheries management. The methodology allows researchers to pinpoint the size, density, and location of fish schools, serving as an essential tool for evaluating the health of marine stocks. Manned by EAD’s team of UAE nationals in conjunction with global experts, the vessel conducted a sweeping 108-day sea expedition to execute the study, covering an exhaustive 324 sites throughout the UAE.
During this sea voyage, the team amassed valuable data by collecting a staggering 1,500 samples, enriching our understanding of the region’s fish species and their habitats. Furthermore, in collaboration with technology companies G42 and OceanX, researchers successfully conducted the UAE’s first environmental DNA (eDNA) baseline and genomic sequencing for local fish species. This groundbreaking work provides a more nuanced comprehension of genetic diversity, laying the groundwork for enhanced conservation efforts and fisheries management strategies in the years to come.
Commissioned under the patronage of Sheikh Hamdan bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Chairman of EAD, Jaywun stands as the Middle East’s leading research vessel. The 50-meter ship utilizes eco-friendly technologies and is equipped with a range of scientific apparatus, including a remotely operated vehicle, trawling and trapping kits, seabed mapping technologies, and multiple laboratories. In addition to its fisheries research, Jaywun will be at the forefront of multiple upcoming studies that span oceanic blue carbon assessments, climate change research, marine habitat mapping, and more, directly contributing to the UAE’s climate-neutrality-by-2050 goal.