Since 2013, G2G Know-How has been working alongside Environment Abu Dhabi, NIWA (New Zealand’s National Institute of Water and Atmosphere), Maven International, (a Wellington consultancy), and other New Zealand fisheries experts. This extensive programme has involved a survey of fish stocks, a review of current fisheries management measures, recommendations on future regulatory and legislative frameworks, guidance on achieving community and industry stakeholder support, and the development of aquaculture resources.

Map identifying Abu Dhabi in the wider Middle East region

Malcolm Millar, a former New Zealand Ambassador to the UAE, was in a meeting with Environment Abu Dhabi officials when the conversation turned to fishing stocks. He showed the gathering the New Zealand Ministry of Primary Industries ‘NZ Fishing Rules app’ on his phone, and a fire was ignited. The Environment Abu Dhabi officials in the room looked up the species they recognized, marveled at the information regarding location, catch and size limits, and declared a determination to have an app just like it. Could New Zealand help?

Decades of Government-funded science had gone into the development of the New Zealand data on which the app was based, so it could not just be replicated for another fishing zone and species. Agreement was reached to carry out a fish stock survey in UAE waters and NIWA was contracted. New Zealand’s number one global ranking for sustainable fishing was an important proof point.

UAE’s National Biodiversity Action Plan (2014-2021) now has a vision to move the “severely over-exploited” UAE fishery to ‘recovering’ and finally to ‘sustainably utilised’ by 2030. The projects that the New Zealand team have planned and delivered are informing the development of a change management programme for sustainable fisheries management by all stakeholders across the UAE.


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