20 September 2011

Save Mirbat Beach!!

World-class beach! A good place to build a navy dock?!
Rumours have been swirling for some time now, and I have also heard it directly from a reliable source who has personally seen the plans, that a navy dock is to be built at the beach at Mirbat.  This information horrifies me and I truly hope that it is false, but I fear that it is not.  Such a development would be catastrophic in this area.  The beaches around Mirbat are truly unspoiled (something that is very difficult to find anywhere in the world anymore) and the bays are home to an incredible diversity of marine life.  Military development at this site would completely destroy it and put the entire area out of bounds to both locals and visitors alike.  This is an area popular with local fishermen as well as visiting snorkellers & scuba-divers.  I myself have dived there on numerous occasions and have seen an incredible array of marine creatures, including a huge resident bull-ray who is seen on almost every dive.

At a time when Oman is supposedly trying to promote tourism it seems totally counterproductive to destroy the very things that make the country so attractive.  Richness is about so much more than money.  Oman is blessed with a richness of nature & biodiversity that you can not put a price on.

Surely there must be more appropriate places in which to build a navy dock? Couldn't it be added to the existing Salalah Port?  I would be very interested to know what the Marriott Hotel thinks of the plans. Who will want to visit the area if this goes ahead? or perhaps they are relying on the influx of military personnel?

Something needs to be done to stop this going ahead! So what can we do? and is there any way to even officially confirm the plans? I would be very grateful for feedback - particularly from Omanis who may know more on planning applications and what can be done to submit objections.  It is very difficult to get the support of an organisation (e.g. ESO) when we can not even get proof that the development is due to go ahead!

Just some of the marine creatures that would be affected...

(photos taken by me whilst diving in Mirbat)


Kapil said...

This is absolutely shocking news...

I guess the authorities are not able to still grasp what they're losing here. The trade off is way costlier than they think.

I'm sure you're also aware about the similar fate of the darling of Muscat, Qantab Beach? They're building residential complexes on most of the unspoilt coast-lines of Northern Muscat.

And it's horrifying to think what could be the consequences for the rich variety of marine life in the Omani waters.

But well, seems like a classic case of a country exploiting too much of whatever has made it such a loved place.

Let's hope someone sees sense, and does the right thing..



Anonymous said...

If you can get enough signatures looking to protect the beach there, I will be happy to get it to the right ministers and find a place for them in Salalah Port.

Peter Ford
CEO Port of Salalah

Dhofar Eco Bug said...

Mr Ford - that is fantastic! Thank you! I will look at initiating a petition and will get back to you in due course. Your offer is greatly appreciated. Let's see what we can do...

Susan said...

I'll sign!

Dhofar Eco Bug said...

Thanks Susan! I'll put up a post when I have a petition up and running. I feel it is important first though to communicate with the people of Mirbat and ensure that we have their backing. At this stage I'm not sure what the views of the locals are, nor whether they even know about the plans. Do you have any connections with Mirbat?

Kapil said...

Count me in as well.

Anything for a little bit more sand rather than cement in my flip-flops.

PS: Mr. Ford. That's a fantastic thought, and much appreciated.

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