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Kuwait environment authority, divers agree on protecting coral reefs

KUWAIT, Feb 16 (KUNA) -- The Environment Public Authority (EPA) inked on Sunday an agreement with the Kuwait Dive Team to install buoys around Umm Al-Maradem and Kubbar islands to spare the reefs harmful mooring.
EPA chairman Sheikh Abdullah Ahmad Al-Humoud Al-Sabah said in a press statement that the divers have been involved in various acts to habilitate the environment and retrieve sunken vessels.
Chaotic dropping of anchors into the sea bed have often inflicted harm in the reefs and living creatures, he said, indicating that placing the buoys was intended to draw attention of boaters to existence of the reefs around the Kuwaiti islands.
The sum allocated for the operation to place the buoys is around KD 20,000 (USD 65,000).
For his part, Walid Al-Fadhel, the head of the Environmental Voluntary Foundation and head of the divers' team, said in a statement that the accord also aimed at safeguarding the reefs from damage, often inflicted with random boats' anchoring at these marine locations.
This project has been in execution since 1998, he said, also noting that fines are imposed on violating ships and boats.
The Kuwaiti team of divers has carried out a series of operations to salvage sunken ships and boats, remove entangled and abandoned nets and observing the reefs' status -- in coordination with the Australian University Queensland.
The team has recently lifted more than 300 tons of abandoned objects in the Kuwaiti territorial waters. (end) zik.rk