December 20, 2017
Arab states' aquaculture potentials cited
Aquaculture could potentially increase seafood production in Arab states, which has seen an average of only 10 kilogrammes per capita, only almost half the international average seafood supply, according to a fisheries expert.
"This situation requires significant efforts to increase seafood supplies to fish markets in many of the Arab states, which could increase the average to at least 15 kg/capita within five years", says Izzat H. Feidi, Egypt's fisheries development consultant.
In an article Feidi authored and posted by the Global Aquaculture Alliance (GAA) on its website,
he cites several types of aquaculture systems that can be developed in Arab states, including offshore and nearshore cage systems; and land-based, open-flow or RAS (recirculation aquaculture system) ponds, tanks and raceways.
One of the most promising and sustainable systems is offshore cage aquaculture, or open sea farming, Feidi said, citing several suitable sites along the waters of Arab states to deploy offshore cages, particularly in the Arabian Sea with land bases in Oman and Yemen.
"With 3,700 kilometers of coastline between them, Oman and Yemen have significant untapped potential to develop a marine offshore aquaculture industry. In addition, the Arabian Sea has the most intense coastal upwelling system in the world, generating rich nutrients for feeding shellfish", he said.
The entire Arab world has a coastline of about 23,000 kilometers, and has substantial natural resources to increase its wild capture fisheries and aquaculture production, he added.
While Oman and Yemen are almost self-sufficient in their local fish landings, extra supplies from such ventures could be directed for export to other Arab countries that import large fish quantities, such as Egypt, Saudi Arabia and other Arab markets and possibly to other regional and international markets, the article said.
Increased fish production would open various opportunities to establish fish processing plants to produce value-added seafood products for local and international markets, Feidi said. Other Arab states that may also engage in such an investment are Morocco and Mauritania, extending into the waters of the east-central Atlantic Ocean.
Feidi said a marine aquaculture industry in the Arabian Sea would increase food security and mitigate the depletion of sparse water for agricultural resources.
He added that several high-value fish and shellfish species are good candidates for offshore aquaculture in the Arabian Sea. These include sea bass, some high-value tuna species such bigeye and yellowfin, cobia, grouper, snappers, barramundi (Asian sea bass) and some valuable filter-feeding bivalves. —Rick Alberto