Bahrain fish farms to cut imports
Manama, May 30, 2011
Privatised fish farms could soon be up and running in Bahrain in a bid to halt dwindling fish stocks, it was revealed.
Several investors have already shown interest in the project, which aims to drastically reduce the country's dependence on imports.
It is hoped the initiative will ensure Bahrain produces half the fish it has to import annually, said Public Commission for the Protection of Marine Resources, Environment and Wildlife marine resources director-general Jassim Al Qassir.
'Fish farms are the answer to the declining fish stocks in the country,' he told our sister newspaper Gulf Daily News (GDN).
'The commission has been working on getting investors to support the initiative.
'The more fish farms in the country the more it allows for Bahrain to be dependent on its own produce instead of imports.'
Al Qassir said four investors had already come forward to back the project - meaning four fish farms would likely be established.
Suggested areas to host the farms are now being earmarked.
'Some locations allow for the farms to be in the sea and some on land,' said Al Qassir.
'Investors will be given the chance to choose which suits their vision.'
Experts from the government-owned Ras Hayan Fish Farm will train staff at the new farms on the different methods of breeding fish.
'The investors will have the freedom of choosing the kind of fish they want to breed,' said Al Qassir.
'They can even choose to breed non-Bahraini fish and sell them according to their view.
'The Ras Hayan Fish Farm will be responsible for training when the project is launched.'
National Pisciculture Centre head Dr Abdulredha Shams earlier revealed that overseas fish imports account for 40 per cent of Bahrain's market.
However, this could be drastically reduced if more fish farms were introduced, he stressed.
Imported fish has increased rapidly in the last seven years and has now reached almost 4,000 tonnes a year.
Dr Shams attributed this to declining fish stocks, caused by land reclamation and overfishing as well as the increased number of fishing licenses awarded.
According to the latest Central Informatics Organisation figures, 4,373 metric tons of fish were imported in 2007 compared to a total of 4,289 in 2006 and 3,273 in 2005.-TradeArabia News Service