If you’re caught fishing from a beach, pier or boat without a licence (unless it’s an organised fishing trip which does not require individual licences), you face a minimum fine of Dhs.1,000. However, acquiring a recreational fishing licence can be quite tricky and the procedure differs a little from emirate to emirate. In Dubai, for example, you need to contact the Municipality Customer Service Centre for an application form, and then visit the service centre with a completed form, a passport copy, your labour card, your driving licence, your car registration card, two passport photographs, an electricity bill and your tenancy contract…phew! Your application will then be evaluated. On the positive side, it is free if longwinded.

A Dubai licence only grants you permission to fish in Dubai, and not the rest of the UAE. Abu Dhabi residents can apply online at for either an annual licence or a weekly renewable licence that can be issued immediately and costs Dhs.30.

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