Visitors to the Damaniyat Island Nature Reserve have to follow certain rules. Violation of these rules can invite fines, stated the Ministry of Environment and Climate Affairs (MECA).
Issued by H E Mohammed bin Salim bin Said al Toobi, Minister of Environment and Climate Affairs, the decision (No 62 /2019) mandates acquiring a permit before entering the reserve. The decision stipulates a fine of not less than RO50 and not more than RO100 for individuals and not less than RO100 and upto RO300 for diving clubs and companies.
The fine doubles for repeat offenders. The decision also stated that visitors are not allowed to take pets into the reserve.
‘Hunting or collecting any wildlife antiques or even stones from the reserve is banned. Visitors will be allowed diving only by a permit from the ministry. Cutting or burning of trees in the reserve is prohibited. Discarding waste and using firearms or conventional weapons is also prohibited.
‘Use of any kind of toxin is banned in the reserve. Collect samples for any reason without permission is prohibited. Establishing any new facility or expanding old buildings inside the reserve except by permission is also prohibited. ‘Use of drones except by permission is also not allowed.’
The other articles prohibit activities that may harm the turtles or coral reefs. ‘Touching turtles collecting their eggs is prohibited,’ it said. The decision does not apply to residents in the reserve, their blood relatives, on duty Royal Army of Oman and ROP staff and academic staff and official government delegations. The decision was issued on November 26 and is effective from the next day of its publication in the official gazette.