Plans are under way to set up a protected area in the Tabuk region, north of the Kingdom to protect marine and terrestrial life.
The proposed marine and terrestrial reserve will be located in Ras Al-Khair, along the coast of the Arabian Sea. According to sources from the Saudi Wildlife Authority (SWA), the reserve will protect marine life in the northern part of the Kingdom.
At present 15 protected areas, covering almost 4 percent of the country’s surface conserve all the major physiographic regions, half the country’s biotopes, key wetlands, marine and mountain habitats and protect viable populations of endemic, endangered and key plant and animal species.
According to a royal decree, the SWA is expected to “Develop and implement plans to preserve wildlife in its natural ecology and to propose the establishment of proper protected areas and reserves for wildlife in the Kingdom, and to manage such areas.”
In accordance with this mandate, the authority strives to protect, conserve, and develop the wildlife resources in line with the laws of Saudi Arabia, and the welfare of its people. The SWA maintains the protected areas of the Kingdom with the help of the Ministry of Interior. The authority has deployed rangers in all protected areas to check poaching or violations of any conservation laws laid out by the SWA.
The organization also conducts public awareness programs for the people in the neighborhood of the protected areas on the importance of conservation of wildlife in the Kingdom. Last year, the Shourah Council approved a draft law on the marine areas of the Kingdom which was sent for royal assent to Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques King Abdullah.
The draft law contains 23 articles, designed to preserve the sovereignty and security of the Kingdom. It is also intended to demarcate the shipping routes in the surrounding waters of Saudi Arabia.
The draft law is based on the guidelines spelt out in the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS).
It is the international agreement that resulted from the third United Nations Conference on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS III), which took place from 1973 through 1982 in Jamaica.