Claim 5000460 - Marine shoreline reserve (US$7,943,030)

     The 1990 invasion of Kuwait and subsequent ignition of hundreds of oil well fires and the release of million barrels of crude oil into the Persion Gulf resulted in one of the largest deliberate man-made disasters on record.  Although most of the discharged oil beached in Saudi Arabia, its effects on Kuwait’s marine ecosystem were substantial.  Oil-spill related contamination impacted approximately 0.78 km² of shoreline resources.

     To compensate for lost ecological servces, Kuwait was awarded US$7,943,030 to establish and operate a marine protected area. The F4 Panel had recommended that the protected area be 140 hectares and protected for 30 years. The  Governing Council approved a modification request by Kuwait NFP to double the surface to be protected while halving the timeframe recommended by the F4 Panel, i.e. 280 hectares to be operated for 15 years following its establishment, rather than 140 hectares for 30 years. Sulaibikhat Bay was chosen as the site of the marine shoreline reserve because it is close to Kuwait’s populated areas, has an extensive intertidal zone, and is a major nursery area of many species of commercial importance.  Additionally, this area is highly threatened due to reclamation and urban development pressures, and official protection of the area would ensure the continued production of ecological services.

     An area of approximately 1km x 2.8 km of Sulaibikhat Bay has been designated as a Marine Protected Areas and any activities that impede or interrupt ecological services are prohibited (e.g. anchoring, commercial fishing, dumping, collection of marine species). Both short and long-term monitoring plans are being developed.