INTRODUCTION, TOURISM AND FISHING IN RED SEA AND GULF OF ADEN
Introduction, Tourism and Fishing in Red Sea and Gulf of Aden
The essay examines practices that make the RSGA region viable and appealing to member states. It shows how the tourism practices in the region generate considerable revenue to countries that lie along the region. The area that is acknowledged for its coral reefs attracts millions of tourists annually which makes it economically viable. This essay also elaborates how fishing continues to thrive in the region that has a wide variety of fish species. However, it is necessary to address some of the constraints that could derail fishing in the LME to achieve impressive results. Paying more attention to protecting the RSGA region will allow states that depend on the resource to achieve more benefits.
The Red Sea and the Gulf of Aden (RSGA) region is internally acknowledged for the unique nature of its marine and coastal biodiversity, essential for global maritime transportation, and its valuable social, historical, and economic significance to the place. The ecosystem of the RSGA supports promotes a right biological diversity with a distinctive high numbers of endemic species (ICRI 2022). It is apparent that various species and places in the region have global value. For instance, the Senganeeb Atoll, Dungonab Bay, and the Socotra Archipelago are all deemed Natural Heritage Sites of the UNESCO (UNEP 2022). Other distinctive features of the RSGA, include the Dahlak and Farsan archipelagos, in the southern part of the Red Sea as well as the coral reefs in the central and northern areas of the Red Sea. The Red Sea promotes a high number of endemic species. According to a report by the Regional Organization for the Conservation of the Environment of the Red Sea and Gulf of Aden, nearly 14.6% of the fishes in the Red Sea are endemic in nature, which makes the place among the leading places with significant endemic species globally (UNEP 2022).The information provides valuable information about the diversity of the RSGA region.
Moreover, the region is increasingly being perceived as having the perfect climate to facilitate the growth of coral reefs because of the availability of considerably higher resilience of the reefs found in this place compared to other regions of the world. Information by Resource Watch (2022) shows that in the RSGA region, approximately 37 million people gain from coral reefs, encompassing 8.5 million individuals who are likely to depend on the resources for their income or food. Specifically, the data revealed that those within 6 miles of the coast and those within 18 miles of reefs are termed as significantly dependent, while those within 62 miles gain from the reefs (Resource Watch 2022). According to Heileman and Mistafa (n.a.) the region hosts almost 4% of the globe’s coral reefs. Moreover, the place also serves as a perfect breeding ground for mangroves and seagrass beds that have contributed towards the unique nature of the place (Gladstone et al. 1999, p. 673). It is also essential to acknowledge that the RSGA has one of the highest rates of biological productivity in the globe, something that could be attributed to the flow of water rich in nutrients from the Gulf of Aden through the Red Sea (CSD Major Groups, n.a). Thus, it is evident the region requires much focus and protection to continue benefiting from the resource.
However, the RSGA encounters some considerable threats that require attention from key stakeholders to avert possible adverse implications. Some of the evident threats that deserve urgent and effective address include inappropriate use of marine resources (United Nations 2022), overfishing, and pollution in the marine environment. The problems have called for regional engagements to identify and act upon the causes, implications and try to come up with appropriate coordinated management practices. Hence, the PERSGA was established in 1974 in partnership with the Arab League Educational, Cultural, and Scientific Organization and the aid of UNEP as part of the mitigating initiatives (UNEP 2022). The signing of the Jeddah Convention in 1982 further supported the initiative aimed at addressing the environmental concerns within the RSGA. The Convention illustrates clearly the dedication and political desires of the states of the region to address the issues affecting the coastal and marine environments of the RSGA via coordinated initiatives. The chief intention of the Convention is to safeguard the marine and coastal environment against pollution and the rational handling of resources of living marine (UNEP 2022). The Convention works in the same manner as the UN Convention on the Laws of Seas of 1982 whereby Article 123 advocates for collaborative engagement among coastal nations. Consequently, based on the provisions of the Jeddah Convention, the contracting parties, encompassing Israel, Yemen, Eritrea, Sudan, the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia (KSA), Jordan, Somalia, Egypt, and Djibouti have an obligation to coordinate their actions relating to their duties and rights on marine environment (UNEP 2022). Hence, based on the analysis, the RSGA plays fundamental roles that deserve considerable attention and understanding.
Tourism in the RSGA
The RSGA members gain from the tourism practices at the region. Coral reef-related tourist expenditure in the region is estimated to be about $6 billion each year. This encompasses on-reef recreational activities such as fishing, snorkeling, boat tours, and diving among other indulgences. Gladstone (2012, p. 375) acknowledge that the GSRA have diverse marine and coastal environments that encourage fast growing mass tourism. The significant variations in sea temperatures and considerably high salinity make the place a suitable breeding ground for many species that make the area appealing to tourists who come to look at the amazing features. Another feature that appeals to millions of tourists is the Red Sea Project that The Red Sea Development Company (2022) terms as the globe’s most motivated regenerative tourism initiative, offers an exquisite encounter of unmatched variety of discerning world travelers. The project includes an archipelago of about 90 islands, large tracts of desert and breathtaking mountain landscapes. The developer of the project, The Red Sea Development Company, is concerned with transforming the location into a luxury destination that will make the place more appealing to tourists. In addition, NEOM engages in activities aimed at making the place more attractive to tourists. NEOM is committed to creating a smart city, with the aim of creating the first cognitive metropolis, where modern technology is enhanced with intelligence and data to fuse seamlessly with the population (NEOM 2022). It is apparent that these initiatives together with others will help to improve the gains from tourism.
The nations aligned with the RSGA region gain so much from the tourism activities that happen there, but there is need to mitigate the environmental issues that could derail the practice. The $6 billion invested in coral reef-associated tourism acts implies that the key players hope to benefit from their investment. For instance, Somalia largely relies on the revenues it generates from the tourism practices along the coast. Despite the security concerns, the government strives to appeal to both local and international visitors (IW: LEARN, n.a.). The same applies to Egypt where the Red Sea has become one of the North Africa’s tourism hubs, especially due to its fragile and unique marine environment. Therefore, it is apparent that the tourism activities at the RSGA region impact positively on the member nations. However, Gladstone et al. (2012, p. 377) think that it would be possible to achieve impressive results in tourism practices by dealing with issues that impact on the environment, including pollution affecting the marine environment. Therefore, mitigating such concerns would present a better chance to benefit from the tourism activities in the RSGA region.
Fishing in the RSGA
Fishing is a thriving practice at the RSGA region that has value to member states despite some of the apparent challenges. More than 1197 species of fish are confirmed to exist in the Red Sea large marine ecosystems that Heileman and Mistafa (n.a.) identify as having a surface area of about 458,619km2, of which nearly 2.32% is safeguarded. Significant variations exist in the species of fish, abudance, and compositions in various locations of the Red Sea, this showing the heterogeneous form of its environment. Fishing happens chiefly at the artisanal or subsistence level, although purse seining and commercial practices are also conducted in member states such as Yemen, KSA, and Egypt.
Total recorded landings from the Red Sea LME have grown exponentially. The analysis by Heileman and Mistafa (n.a.) show that the landings achieved more than 130,000 tons in 2004, with a significant amount recorded in the mixed group. The value rating of recorded landings have also escalated to nearly $130 million in 2004 (Heileman & Mistafa n.a.). Some of the species that recorded higher landings, and thus generated more revenue for member states include perch-likes, herring-likes, crustaceans, tuna and billfishes, sharks and rays, and flatfishes. However, the landings of anchovies, mollusks, scorpionfishes, sea bases, Indian mackerel, jacks, cuttlefishes, lizardfishes, snappers, and penaeus shrimps also achieved impressive performance (Heileman & Mistafa n.a.). An amazing feature that is likely to boost the fishing practices at the RSGA region is that the primary production needed to maintain the reported landing in the LME is growing in the recent years, but this is yet to hit 10% of the witnessed primary production levels. A significant portion of the ecological footprint in the area is accounted for by the nations regulating the LME, chiefly Egypt, KSA, and Yemen (Heileman & Mistafa n.a.). It is also worth noting that fisheries activities in the Red Sea LME is are still widening, and thus they exhibit relatively and stable average trophic levels, with an escalation in the fish-based index. In the long run, affiliated nations benefit from the revenues from sales and gain better technology from others that make it possible to achieve impressive outcomes. The analysis reveals that fishing along the RSGA region is thriving, but this does not mean that the practice is a smooth sailing.
The parties engaging in fishing should identify challenges that could derail the practice and come up with effective remedies to achieve sustainability. Some of the key concerns, include destruction of spawning, overfishing, and inadequate nursery and feeding grounds. Other issues that affect fishing in the region include poor handling of resources and laws as well as inadequate enforcement. The inadequate surveillance and control measures have caused extensive unlawful fishing and habitat harm by both foreign and national vessels (Heileman & Mistafa n.a.). Nonetheless, rampancy of discards and bycatches and harmful fishing practices are deemed to be insignificant. Where such practices happen, they entail the utilization of dynamite fishing and small meshed nets. These actions eliminate a significant portion of reef herbivores, causing an upsurge in algal growth with minimized grazing competition on algae (Heileman & Mistafa n.a.). In the long run, these issues may pose substantial harm to productivity and biological diversity in the LME.
The RSGA region is a crucial resource for the affiliated states because of the numerous benefits that come with being attached to LME. Israel, Yemen, Eritrea, Sudan, the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia (KSA), Jordan, Somalia, Egypt, and Djibouti gain from the tourism activities that happen in the region. Coral reef-related tourism activities and other actions such as fishing, snorkeling, boat tours, and diving among other indulgences attract millions of local and international tourists annually. Some member states gain from the fishing activities in the RSGA. The success of the fishing practices in this region can be attributed to increased landings, which contribute significantly towards revenue generation. However, there is need to overcome some of the challenges that affect fishing practices in RSGA region to improve the chances of witnessing better results. Overall, the region plays fundamental functions and deserves adequate protection.
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