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Tuesday, July 29, 2014  

Permit mandatory to visit Damaniyat Islands
Waleed Mahmoud

MUSCAT The Ministry of Environment and Climate Affairs is issuing new forms to get permits to visit Al Damaniyat Islands Natural Reserve.

The guidelines make it mandatory to get permit from the Directorate-General of Nature Conservation or Barka Rehabilitation Centre, said Dr Mohammed Bin Juma Al Sheryani, Deputy Director-General of Nature Conservation at the Ministry of Environment and Climate Affairs.

Visitors are not allowed to enter the interior of the islands. Camping on the islands is prohibited from May 1 to October every year, after which it will be allowed at Jabel Al Kabeer Island and Al Jawn Island, Sheryani said.

The guidelines prohibit collection of coral or other marine organisms or harming them, Sheryani said. Divers should not harm nesting turtles, cause nuisance, touch them on the beach or collect their eggs. Visitors are not permitted to bring pets like cats or dogs or any other animals to the islands or bring cut plants or herbs in the Al Damaniyat Islands Natural Reserve.

The reserve is located in the Wilayat of Seeb in Muscat Governorate, about 18km off the coast of Barka (70km west of Muscat), and comprises nine islands spread over 100 hectares.

The reserve has rich natural heritage and coral reefs, including some rare varieties. The island has a large number of sea turtles, besides migratory and indigenous birds.

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