Marine Environmental Legislation in Qatar: Current Mechanism and Future Challenges Max-Planck Foundation, Heidelberg,Germany Omar Mohammed-Faraj, LL.M. Research Fellow The state of Qatar witnessed rapid developments in the last decade, booming economy and solid steps towards the building of a prosper state. These changes in economy and the market demands for Qatari gas and oil put the country's marine environment under serious threats. It is so hard to assess the magnitude of the threats to the marine environment in Qatar and to Qatar's coastal waters; however potential threats can be identified. Over exploitation of fish stocks, (catch of fish in Qatar increased from 4271.3 tons in 1995 to 7139.6 tons in 2000 according to State's report in 2000) for an increase of approximately 67% since 1995. Many marine species like turtles are under serious danger. This constitutes a threat to the marine ecosystem in this country. Critical effects for onshore, offshore discharges including oil spills, ship ballast and pipeline releases damages severely the marine environment. This paper is to examine the marine environment legislation in power at the State of Qatar. Environment Law No.30 of 2002 and Law No.4 of 1983 together with many other decrees, regulations will be examined. The focus will be on pipelines releases and the liability according to the Qatari marine environmental legislation. The existing law did not provide a clearly identifiable responsible party, matters like the compensation for damages to the marine environment must clearly clarified. The paper will include a comparative study of the liability for any pipelines releases in other maritime jurisdictions with an overview to the legal status of marine cables and pipelines in the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea 1982 (UNCLOS) which Qatar is a member since December 2002. Qatar needs a unified marine environmental legislation to replace the existing marine environment protection regulations which can be modified or referred to in the new legislation. The methods used to conduct this study are comparative legal analysis, various updated surveys, and existing laws. The aim of this study is to put a focus on the legal mechanism for countering marine pollution in the State of Qatar and identify the needs for improvements in the existing marine environmental legislation. Extending the protection given by law to the marine protected areas (only 0.25% of marine areas in Qatar are protected according to a report by the State of Qatar in 2010) and encouraging legal research in the field of marine pollution is important tool to fill any gaps in the current mechanism. The role of the international conventions ratified by the State of Qatar will be substantial in modulating the current statutory mechanism. The study paper will develop recommendations regarding the identified points of discussion taking into consideration the Qatari context.


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