Environment Agency – Abu Dhabi (EAD) and Miral have signed an agreement to collaborate with Yas SeaWorld Research & Rescue on marine conservation, research initiatives and marine wildlife rescue efforts in the Middle East region.

The largest dedicated marine research, rescue, rehabilitation and return centre in the region, Yas SeaWorld Research & Rescue serves as an integrated and advanced marine science knowledge hub and a key contributor to marine life conservation in the UAE and the wider region.

Through the partnership, EAD and Miral, through Yas SeaWorld Research & Rescue, will collaborate across multiple areas including response to marine wildlife incidents and rescues, and the rehabilitation of rescued marine animals and the safe return to their natural habitat. The two partners will also work closely to enhance education around marine life conservation through capacity building, as well as outreach programmes aimed at the general public. The centre, located adjacent to the upcoming SeaWorld Yas Island, Abu Dhabi, joins a network of three facilities established across the US and aims to build on SeaWorld's legacy of almost 60 years of marine animal care, rescue, rehabilitation, and conservation with more than 40,000 rescues to date.

Her Excellency Dr Shaikha Salem Al Dhaheri, Secretary-General of EAD, said: "This collaboration with Miral and Yas SeaWorld Research & Rescue is a significant step forward in our mission to protect and preserve the marine ecosystems of Abu Dhabi and the entire UAE. By joining forces, we endeavour to improve the treatment of rescued wildlife, expand ecological research, and better understand environmental threats. It will also enhance the success of conservation efforts led by the EAD, ultimately benefiting the region's marine wildlife, habitats, and ecosystems. We believe this partnership is of paramount importance for the future of conservation in the country, as it will support our ambitions to inspire and nurture the next generation of marine life scientists in the UAE."

Mohamed Abdalla Al Zaabi, CEO of Miral Group, said: “We are honoured to announce our partnership with the Environment Agency – Abu Dhabi. This collaboration with Yas SeaWorld Research & Rescue is a testament to our shared commitment to protecting the UAE and region's marine life, while pushing the limits of science and conservation to create a truly unparalleled knowledge hub. Abu Dhabi and the UAE have a rich maritime heritage and it is our responsibility to preserve this legacy for the years to come and forge a sustainable future for those who will inherit the earth from us. Our partnership with EAD is a significant milestone in this journey and we are committed to working closely to promote sustainable practices, advance research and rescue efforts and foster greater public understanding around the importance of conserving our oceans.”

The collaboration will see Yas SeaWorld Research & Rescue join EAD’s established Wildlife Stranding Network, facilitating marine wildlife rescue efforts in Abu Dhabi and other emirates. In addition to facilitating satellite tagging, the network encourages collaboration among various partners in Abu Dhabi, and more broadly, seeks to enhance coordinated efforts across the UAE and the extended region. While EAD will assist in facilitating necessary permits required for research and rescue activities, the centre will offer state-of-the-art rescue vessels, housing, and treatment of rescued species at its facility. These efforts, as well as a high level of expertise in animal care, will support the rescue and rehabilitation capacity of Abu Dhabi.

The partnership will also serve as a driving force towards increasing awareness and appreciation of the unique characteristics of the Arabian Gulf and its diverse marine ecosystems. Additionally, the collaboration will prioritise the development of skills among national cadres to create and implement policies aimed at protecting the region’s marine wildlife. The agreement will also set out a roadmap where the centre will serve as a knowledge hub, collaborating with EAD to develop educational content seeking to enhance public awareness around marine conservation. The two partners will also develop joint research initiatives to better understand the ecosystem values of sensitive nearshore habitats such as seagrass. Working with students in related fields, EAD and Yas SeaWorld Research & Rescue will also provide internship opportunities to nurture the development of aspiring marine scientists.

EAD and Yas SeaWorld Research & Rescue are committed to helping any marine animal in need or at risk. Members of the public are encouraged to call the Environment Agency Abu Dhabi (EAD) via Abu Dhabi Government Call Centre 800 555 to report any animals who may be injured or in danger.