Bahrain to expand artificial reefs drive
Manama, June 18, 2012
A major initiative which aims to save Bahrain's depleting fish stocks by placing artificial reefs into the sea in several areas is being expanded following its initial success.
It is being carried out by the Fisheries and Marine Resources Directorate (FMRD) with the support of the Municipalities and and Urban Planning Affairs Ministry.
"Phase one of the project is already showing results as structures have already begun to attract fish to the area," said FMRD director Dr Jassim Al Qaseer.
"We have been depositing near natural reefs, where there are good currents and the seabed is no more than 15 metres deep. These structures are supposed to give fish new homes to breed in and stay safe from predators.
"The reason that the fish numbers have gone down is because reclamation has destroyed fish homes, so this project will give us the opportunity to bring back a once lost ecosystem. Over time these structures will attract coral onto them and in many years will be the building block for a new coral reef.
"It will take years before the artificial reefs become settled, but fish will come in this area and where there are small fish there will be big fish and this is a way of rehabilitating fish stocks."
More than BD1 million ($2.65 million) has already been spent on the Artificial Reef Project and Dr Al Qaseer said the progress of the four-year project would be studied after the completion of each phase.
Parts of the sea near Jarada Island, on the eastern coast of Bahrain, have already benefited.
"Phase two of the project was started at the beginning of June and is expected to take about three months, the same as phase one, depending on the weather," said Dr Al Qaseer.
"We put this one near a reef called Fasht Al Jarem and placed the structures less than 15 metres deep."
Municipalities and Urban Planning Affairs Minister Dr Juma Al Ka'abi earlier said the project was in line with the directives His Royal Highness Prime Minister Prince Khalifa bin Salman Al Khalifa. – TradeArabia News Service