Ministry guidelines to preserve Jabal Samhan, hefty fines for violations

Muscat: The Minister of Environment and Climate Affairs has issued a decision 40/2019 on the management of the  Jabal Samhan Nature Reserve in Dhofar Governorate, which includes hefty fines for violations.

Article 2 of the decision bans certain activities at the Jabal Samhan Nature Reserve, while Article 4 says violations shall be liable to an administrative fine of not less than RO 50 and not more than RO 500.

Article 2 prohibits access to the reserve outside the permissible times of visit, camping or overnight stay in the reserve without a permit from the ministry. It includes violation of the instructions mentioned at the entrances to the reserve, in the visitors’ centres or through publications issued by the ministry.

It prohibits attempts to catch or try to collect wildlife, fossils, artefacts, stones or any other assets of the reserve.Fires will be allowed only in the places or areas designated for this, and after obtaining a permit from the ministry.

No use of toxins will be allowed for any reason nor will be driving vehicles outside the roads specified by the ministry. Logging, cutting or burning trees or any area covered with grass will not be allowed.

Contamination of water sources or valleys or any activities that may lead to it will be severely penalised, so will be dumping all kinds of waste or transferring dust from inside the reserve to the outside and vice versa.

It also rules out carrying studies, researches and collecting samples for any reason except after obtaining a permit from the ministry. It prohibits the establishment of any new facility or expansion of old buildings without the approval of the ministry.

Cameras and drones shall be used only after obtaining a permit from the ministry. Members of the Sultan’s Armed Forces and members of the Royal Oman Police during their work in coordination with the Directorate General of Environment and Climate Affairs in Dhofar Governorate will be excluded from the decision.

Employees in governmental and academic institutions during official work or scientific research shall carry out activities after obtaining the necessary permits from the ministry.

Jabal Samhan is one of the major mountain ranges in the administrative district of Dhofar, whose highest peak reaches 2,100 metres. Jabal Samhan has many levels that are traversed by deep and narrow mountain passes, some of which are up to 1,000 feet deep.