AQUA NEWS

SAUDIS SEEK $4 BILLION INVESTMENT IN AQUACULTURE

The head of Saudi Arabia’s National Fisheries Development Program (NFDP) has reiterated his plans to attract over $4 billion of foreign and local investment into the country’s aquaculture sector. Dr Ali Al-Shaikhi, CEO of the NFDP, told that kingdom has the potential to produce over a million tons of seafood by improving aquaculture facilities under guidance of NDFP (2010-14 reports).  Aquaculture sector produced 100,000 tons in 2020, but officials have set targets to increase this to 300,000 tons by 2025 and 600,000 by 2030. Of this figure marine fish farms are slated to account for 450,000 tons, while shrimp and land-based fish farms will make up the remainder. We have spent almost SR300 million ($80 million) over the last three years only on research — carrying out feasibility studies, measuring environmental impacts, identifying the right species to be cultivated, calculating feed consumption rates and so on,” he told. “We have created hatcheries for fish and fish feed and we are developing food processing techniques. Once all these critical elements are in place, the investor or farmer will have all the knowledge required and can just focus on production,” he added. “Now we are working with the private sector to achieve our goals. We identify investment opportunities and make it easier and faster to invest in terms of new regulations and government support.” Currently 3000 workers, NDFP plans to help 100 young Saudis to study aquaculture abroad, due to the absence of domestic aquaculture courses, with 70% of funds from the private sector and 30% from the government.