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The Ministry of Environment and Climate Affairs (MECA) has issued a decision for visitors to Jebel Qahwan Nature Reserve in South Sharqiyah. The decision also stipulates a fine for violators.

The decision (No 30/2019) was issued by H E Mohammed bin Salim bin Said al Toobi, Minister of Environment and Climate Affairs.

Article 2 of the decision has some conditions for entry. ‘Hunting or collecting any wildlife antiques or even stones from the reserve is banned. Visitors are allowed to drive vehicles only on roads specified. Cutting or burning of trees in the reserve is prohibited. Discarding waste and using firearms or conventional weapons is also prohibited.’

‘Lighting fire is allowed only after obtaining a permit. Use of any kind of toxin is banned in the reserve,’ the decision stated.

Digging wells or mining of any kind is prohibited. It is also not allowed to collect samples for any reason without permission.

‘Establishing any new facility or expanding old buildings inside the reserve except by permission is also prohibited. Use of drones except by permission is banned.’

Article 3 states, ‘Camping is allowed only for a maximum of 50 people in places specified.’ Article 5 states, ‘Anyone who wants to search for honey must obtain a permit.’ The ministry has identified two seasons: summer (May and June) and winter (November). ‘The search must be from sunrise to sunset.’

Violators will be fined RO50 but not more than RO200. ‘The fine will be doubled in case of repeat violation.’ Residents in the reserve, their blood relatives and government delegations are exempted from the fee. The decision was issued on July 14.

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