Some occupy the shallow waters of the Gulf. Others dive deep for their prey over sea mounts, pinnacles, ridges and canyons. Further south, seasonal monsoon upwellings create nutrient-rich conditions that fuel the food web of the Arabian Sea and Gulf of Aden.
More than 21 different types of whales and dolphins inhabit these uniquely Arabian seas – nearly a quarter of the species known worldwide.
The rocky shoreline, beaches and shallow environment along the coast of the Emirate of Fujairah slope seawards towards deep, canyoned waters at the edge of the continental shelf. It is here that pelagic sea life, such as game fish, sharks, rays, tuna and kingfish, Risso’s dolphins and sperm whales spend time foraging, offering us a rare glimpse into their mysterious lives.
Species recorded in Fujairah to date
To date, eight species have been confirmed to occur in waters off Fujairah. Two of these, the striped dolphin (Stenella coeruleoalba) and the pantropical spotted dolphin (S. attenuata) were first encountered during the Fujairah Whale Research Project in April 2017, constituting new records for the UAE. The eight confirmed species off Fujairah include:
Long-beaked common dolphin
Several additional species are thought to occur off the Emirate of Fujairah, based on their known distribution in waters in neighbouring Oman to the south and to the north. These species await formal discovery and documentation, but include the following:
Dwarf sperm whale
Cuvier’s beaked whale
It remains likely that still more species may occur in the waters of the Emirate of Fujairah, including deep water species that have not yet been recorded in the region. Other beaked whale species, for example, may occur here and await to be revealed by future study.