Monday, August 7, 2017

Bahrain to launch new pearl diving licensing scheme

Bahrain's Ministry of Works, Municipalities Affairs and Urban Planning has unveiled a new scheme to license pearl diving activities, said a report.

Starting from August 9, individual applicants can obtain a pearl diving license according to local laws and regulations with fees of BD25 ($65.8) per individual and BD1,000 ($2,633.8) per diving centre, said a report in BNA.

Moreover, all previous license owners, whether expired or not, are obliged to submit an application for renewal as per the requirements of ministerial order (43/2017).

The scheme, which will be run from the Marine licensing office located in Budayia, comes following the directives of the Government Executive Committee chaired by HRH Prince Salman bin Hamad Al Khalifa, Crown Prince, Deputy Supreme Commander and First Deputy Prime Minister.

Essam bin Abdulla Khalaf, minister of Works, Municipalities Affairs and Urban Planning, said that applicants will be required to attend a pearl diving workshop which will be held by the Supreme Council of Environment following initial registration.

The initiative will boost pearl diving by encouraging sustainable catching activities and ensuring Bahrain retains its position as an international centre for the industry.

In doing so, the new initiative will bring significant positive impacts to the kingdom, including the creation of new jobs for Bahrainis in the marine sector.

The minister also clarified that the regulation of pearling activities is one of the main objectives of reviving this deep rooted industry, which seeks to maintain a sustainable environment for natural pearls.

Official pearl diving trips will take place from August 26.

The minister announced the establishment of the first pearling center at the port of Ras Rayah in Muharraq following his recent visit to the project site.

The minister confirmed the implementation of Resolution No. 43 of 2017 to regulate pearling through an annual license made available to individuals and centres to practice the pearling activity in permitted areas, obtainable only from the Agriculture and Marine Resources Affairs office in Budaiya.

As for diving centres, instructors, diving masters and vessel crew members are requested to obtain one year licenses from the Marine Monitoring Directorate in Agriculture and Marine Resources Affairs to be able to take part in pearling trips. Ras Rayah fishing harbour in Muharraq is the designated entry and exit location for pearl diving trips. Pearl divers will have to purchase a BD5 ($13) ticket from the Bahrain Exhibition and Convention Authority.

Diving centres must provide a list of participants to the Coast Guard Directorate before any trip and are obliged to follow safety laws and regulations. Divers are restricted to a maximum of 60 oysters per trip.

Conditions for pearl licensing trips include:

-To take part in pearl diving trips, organisers and centres must be registered with the Commercial Registration System (Sijilat) at the Ministry of Industry, Trade and Tourism
- Centres must have a diving boat licensed by the Coast Guard
- Instructors must have a (Padi Master) certificate or any other international equivalent certificate
- CVs for trainers should be provided with a proof that the trainers have passed a Supreme Council of Environment training course on how to preserve and sustain the marine environment
- All participants must hold an insurance certificate for diving vessels
- Applicants must submit a written pledge to uphold national laws and regulations for the protection of marine resources, avoid using illegal fishing gear and pay application fees.

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