Forum discusses strategy to boost seafood production
Madinah Gov. Prince Faisal bin Salman inaugurated the first Saudi Aquaculture Investment Forum in Yanbu on Wednesday in the presence of Agriculture Minister Abdul Rahman Al-Fadli.
Al-Fadli welcomed the prince and thanked him for supporting and attending the forum, which is considered an important step in encouraging investment in aquaculture in the Kingdom.
He said that the forum comes at a time when the Kingdom is implementing an ambitious strategic plan to develop the country’s marine life product capacity.
“The goal of the plan is to make the Kingdom capable of producing 600,000 tons of seafood in the coming 15 years and create about 200,000 new jobs for both men and women in the costal areas where aquaculture projects and activities will be set up,” he said.
The minister said that the Kingdom is blessed by a relative advantage of having around 3,600 km of coastline on the Red Sea that will help the country carry out aquaculture projects by using techniques such as floating cages and shore-adjacent pools to yield good results.
Yanbu Gov. Musaad Yahya Al-Sulaim told Arab News that organizing the forum in Yanbu, in collaboration with the Agriculture Ministry, is the outcome of Prince Faisal’s continuous efforts to boost business and investment activities in the Madinah region in general, and Yanbu city in particular.
Speaking to Arab News, Ahmad bin Salih Al-Eada, the head of the forum’s organizing committee and director general of fishery farms department at the Agriculture Ministry, said that the forum will tackle many aspects, including exploring investment opportunities in the field of aquaculture; analyzing investment obstacles and how to overcome them; discovering employment opportunities for Saudis in the field in coastal cities and rural areas; and searching for ways to preserve current marine resources, and how to develop and guarantee their sustainability.
Al-Eada added that the forum’s goal is not only to help in the creation of a strong national base for aquaculture projects but also to make the field a main source of economic and social development in the country.
“We hope our efforts and projects will provide a viable contribution to the Kingdom’s food security drive and raise the current average of fish consumption per person from 12 kg a year to the global average of 19 kg. At a later stage, our target will be to achieve the advanced nations’ average of 62 kg per person a year,” he pointed out.
More than 100 speakers and representatives of 37 companies specialized and interested in aquaculture investment from Kingdom and abroad are participating in the two-day forum.