Socotra… Again & Again!! [Archives:1998/37/Front Page]

September 14 1998

Much has been said about the Yemeni Island of Socotra in the Arabian Sea. And much more is, and will be, said about preserving its biodiversity. Nothing much has materialized so far. On the contrary, declaring it a free-trade zone and encouraging more tourists to visit are bound to be detrimental to the island’s unique flora and fauna. This is especially so considering that Socotra has never been declared a nature reserve or a protected area.
Many Western scientists visit the island to conduct research on its land mass and its waters. Few of them take back samples and specimens of its wildlife, where they are laboratory tested and analyzed.
With the rapid advances in agricultural sciences in general and genetic engineering in particular, Western scientists have been able to successfully grow Socotra plants in their own countries. Yemen has not really benefited from this, and Yemeni scientists and experts are not involved either.
Organized by the Environmental Protection Council and the “Project for the Conservation and Sustainable Use of the Biodiversity of Socotra Archipelago,” a workshop started yesterday, Sunday, September 13. The main objective of this workshop is to formulate and propose a draft legislation to regulate the exploitation of the island’s resources, benefiting both the local population and the country as a whole.
Will the workshop come up with an efficient piece of legislation to help protect the unique flora and fauna on the Island of Socotra and the precious marine life in its waters?
More attention should also be paid to the flora and fauna in mainland Yemen.