• Dubai's Rich Marine Life in the Arabian Gulf

  • The waters of the Arabian Gulf off Dubai are home to a rich variety of marine life. Over 500 species of fish swim in Dubai's ocean waters, and many more exist in the Indian Ocean, of which the Arabian Gulf is an extension of.

    The Arabian Gulf is home to beautiful coral reef systems that invite a highly diverse community of sea life. With Dubai's recent surge in Dubai shoreline development, study and mapping of Dubai's reef systems has begun to ensure this fragile ecosystem is not destroyed by mankind's ambitions. The once famous Arabian pearl, once a staple industry for Dubai divers, has become a rarity in these tropical waters.

    The coral reefs systems off Dubai and the mangrove creeks along the coast are home to a great diversity of marine life. These are also very important fish breeding and feeding grounds. Coral is easily damaged by boats, divers, and construction and takes decades to grow mere inches. Dubai's oil companies and property developers have taken steps to create artificial reefs by sinking planes and ships meant to attract the growth of coral and encourage the Arabian Gulf's fish and creatures to flock to the area.

    The Arabian Gulf is home to the second largest population of dugongs, or "sea cows", in the world, with the waters off Dubai sheltering a good-sized group of 500 to 1,000 individuals. This endangered species is massive, yet very shy and elusive. Its closest relatives are the manatees that make their home along the coasts of Florida in the United States. Man is the only enemy of these gentle sea creatures and many are lost to hunting, fishing nets, dredging, and oil pollution. Although Emirate of Dubai and the rest of the UAE have banned the monofilament nets that do the most damage to dugongs, whales, and dolphins, they are still in wide use and can be found in every local fishing village.

    The waters off Dubai are also home to over one third of the world's 80 species of whales and dolphins. At least four species of sea turtle live in the Arabian Gulf waters including: the Green, the Leatherback, the Loggerhead, the Hawksbill, and possibly the Olive Ridley Turtle. All of these turtles are on the endangered species list and although turtle fishing is banned, a great many are caught each year and egg collection from nesting sites also decreases the turtle population.

    A popular Dubai attraction is shipwreck diving in the Arabian Gulf. Experienced divers bring visitors to both old, accidental wrecks and new, purposefully sunk vessels that have become a haven for the many species of fish in Dubai's waters. Some of these wrecks are right off the new Dubai The World and Palm Island developments. The sandy sea beds around Dubai's wreck diving spots are a gathering place for large barracuda, manta rays, dolphins, sea turtles, sea snakes, batfish, and the elegant Arabian Angelfish. The magnificent sailfish is a seasonal visitor to Dubai's waters and congregates in great numbers during the months of October through April each year. A host of brightly colored tropical fish of myriad varieties make Dubai's ocean waters a must for divers of all experience.

    Many of the Dubai luxury hotels have their own scuba diving and snorkel charters. A dive in the warm Arabian waters off the coast will be an unforgettable part of your Dubai vacation experience.
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