State of the Gulf Ecosystems - Future and Threats

Venue: Al-Ain UAE

Location: Al-Ain UAE, Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates

Event Date/Time: Mar 05, 2006 End Date/Time: Mar 07, 2006
Registration Date: Jan 30, 2006
Early Registration Date: Dec 15, 2005
Abstract Submission Date: Jan 01, 2006
Paper Submission Date: Jan 30, 2006
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Description

The Gulf is one of the harshest environments with which humans interacts. It is a semienclosed,
shallow body of water in between the arid landmasses of Iran and Saudi
Arabia, Kuwait, Qatar, and the United Arab Emirates (UAE) (Sheppard, 1993). With a
mean depth of 36 metres, much of its waters are within the photic zone. The turnover
or actual flushing time of all the water in the Gulf is 3 to 5 years. Further natural stress
originates from several factors including normal seepage of underwater oil fields,
accounting for approximately 10% of chronic spillage. Consequently, the Gulf's
contained environment makes it a natural repository for pollutants. It has also been
subject to a wide range of other human
perturbations.
The integrity of the Gulf marine ecosystem
could be compromised, in particular from the
impacts of unprecedented coastal reclamation,
oil drilling, processing and transportation. The
most recent environmental impact arose from
the effects of the 1991 Gulf War. An estimated
10.8 million barrels of oil were released into the
Gulf environment. Additionally, an estimated 8
million barrels of smoke emitted from >720 oil well fires in Kuwait dropped into the
marine environment of the Gulf doubling the size of the oil slick.
The modern strategic importance of the Gulf originated in the mid-19th century.
Since World War II, the Gulf region, which contains more than 60% of known world
oil reserves, has been developed and modernised. In addition to oil, the Gulf region is
known for its shrimp, fin-fish and pearl fisheries. Over the past century the traditional
life style of the region has been affected markedly by outside intervention and the
extremely rapid modernisation process. In addition to increased prosperity and living
standards, this has generated considerable stress on both terrestrial and marine
environments of the Gulf region.

Venue

Al-Ain UAE
Al-Ain UAE
Al-Ain UAE
Abu Dhabi
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