Bahrain Diving Committee – Protecting Bahrain’s Marine Heritage

The BDC is a non-profit organization promoting scuba diving tourism in Bahrain and helping to protect the island’s marine environment. Over the years it has been very active in various diving programs and many marine life protection projects. Projects include providing the Bahrain Directorate of Fisheries with volunteer divers to deploy artificial reefs around Bahrain. Another consisted of deploying hooks with floats to catch drift nets in banned areas.

The BDC also participates in many marine conferences and meetings in the region related to promoting scuba diving and marine environment protection as well as holding underwater photography exhibitions. They have also organized diving competitions. BDC is looking forward to implement more projects in the near future to help to protect the marine environment. One is the Floating Anchorage for the popular Coral Reef around Bahrain. Over the years BDC has noticed that Coral Reefs which are popular with divers and fishermen are slowly getting damaged due to boat anchors being dragged or dropped on them. The project will benefit the marine environment by reducing or eliminating coral damage due to anchor dropping. Since July 2001, BDC volunteers have been active in carrying-out the Coral Reef Cleanup Project. The project has been funded by the Kuwait Fund for Social and Economic Development and supported by the Bahrain Centre for Studies and Researches. The aim is to locate and remove underwater solid waste and trash (ropes, bottles, plastics, cans, nets, etc.) around all major reefs, pearl birth areas, and islands surrounding Bahrain.

Over 200 species of fish have been identified around Bahrain. Amongst the better known tropical varieties are butterfly fish, angel fish, parrot fish, clown fish, barracuda, grouper, rays plus many more. In spring, stingrays are a common sight on the various sandbanks around Bahrain, where they bask in the sun.

As a young boy (way back in the 1970’s) I was lucky enough to experience fishing in Saudi Arabia & Bahrain before over fishing and pollution took its effect on the fishing population. I would often catch large sharks, Grouper & Sea Bream straight off the beach and just by using a white bed sheet and a loaf of bread, I would be able to pull out 20 – 30 fish at a time just inches from the shore line.

So when I returned to Bahrain in the late 1990’s my expectations where high and thankfully I was not let down. Yes there was a big difference in the size and number of fish I caught upon my return, but despite pollution and over fishing, I still had a great time fishing round the coast of Bahrain and if you use a boat then there are even richer pickings, fishing near some of the uninhabited islands that dot the coast of Bahrain.

I was lucky enough to be treated to the art of Sea Fly fishing by an American based at the port of Bahrain on my last visit. I had never fly fished before, let alone sea fly fishing and so the days fishing in the shallows just by the airport proved to be a very enlightening experience and even though we didn’t actually catch any thing, there where plenty of bites and I was assured by my teacher that a couple of days lessons would soon have me pulling them in.
For me though the true fun of fishing in Bahrain is finding an uninhabited piece of reclaimed land and fishing from the shore with a few friends, small camp fire burning in the background and some good music blasting from the car parked just feet from the shore.
Bahrain is embarking on a huge land reclaim project and it is not difficult to find causeways of refilled land that jut out from the shore from any where up to ½ a kilometre in length. At the end of these causeways there is normally a tiny beach where you can park up and fish; with luck you might even find some drift wood to burn. These areas change daily and so it makes it even more interesting when you return to your favourite spot only to find that it has disappeared and been replaced by a new piece of land!

From these spots you will be able to catch a large variety of fish such as Barracuda, Tuna, Grouper & Sea Bream, plus if you are very lucky a shark or two.

It doesn’t stop there, as Bahrain is an island there are plenty of places to fish and a great spot is off any of the bridges that connect the many islands together. The current is normally very strong when the tide is changing so you will need to use a lot of weight to keep the line down and these areas can often have very rocky bottoms; expect to loose some tackle and line!

With out doubt the best bait to use is prawn which can be purchased from the markets or larger supermarkets but just about any standard sea bait will do. I have had fun just using bread and good results with squid, smaller fish, crab etc.

There are not many fishing shops in Bahrain but if you head down to the souk, you will find a couple that sell a nice range of lures, lines, rods & reels plus some of the main super markets also sell a limited selection of fishing equipment to help get you on your way. If you have time to spare then try shopping on-line as this is a great way to save money on fishing equipment.

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