New lab to help boost Bahrain's fish stocks
Manama, June 22, 2014
China is helping Bahrain set up a new laboratory that will support efforts to replenish the nation's depleted fish stocks.
It will analyse fish diseases and water samples once it is fully operational at its headquarters in Asker, said a report in the Gulf Daily News (GDN), our sister publication.
The new facility, which is currently undergoing final preparations, is being established as Bahrain seeks to develop fish farms around the country.
It is expected to be up and running later this year and will be manned by Chinese fish specialists, who will share their knowledge with Bahraini staff.
"We have a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with the Chinese Embassy," explained Dr Mohamad Foda, agricultural consultant to Agriculture, Livestock and Fisheries Under-secretary Shaikh Khalifa bin Isa Al Khalifa.
"They will supply us with four experts every two years - two fish disease specialists and two translators.
"Bahrain and China are working together. They (China) fixed up the lab with all Chinese equipment and the two translators are here because all the instructions are in Chinese.
"The two specialists will be teaching and running the lab."
Dr Foda revealed the new lab would also advise on regulating the international sale and export of Bahraini fish and support efforts to increase stocks through the fish farms.
"By 2015 we are planning for our hatcheries to produce at least five million fish a year - many of which will be exported, but at the same time have mass production here," he said.
"This is being done to reduce the price of fish and improve our food security.
"Also Shaikh Khalifa will stop or limit the mass export of Bahrain's most popular fish to lower the price of fish."
Bahrain's fishermen have long complained about declining fish stocks, which has been blamed on over-fishing, land reclamation and increasingly hot temperatures driving fish into deeper, cooler waters.
However, Dr Foda revealed the international export of Bahraini fish was also affecting the local market.
"Some people have complained saying Bahrain doesn't have enough fish in its waters, but we have 38 fish exporters in the country, who are doing very well," he said.
"The problem is that too much fish is being exported, which is driving up the price locally."
In addition, he said Bahraini fish prices were so low that traders from around the GCC bought up large quantities at wholesale prices to sell in neighbouring countries. - TradeArabia News Service