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Emerging Trends of Aquaculture Research in the Arabian Gulf Region (pp. 297-320) $100.00
Authors:  (S.M. Almatar, C.M. James, Mariculture and Fisheries Department, Kuwait Institute for Scientific Research, Kuwait)
The Arabian Gulf Region is bordered by eight countries including Bahrain, Iran,
Iraq, Kuwait, Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia and United Arab Emirates (UAE). All these
countries have a combined coastline of about 23,000 km in the Arabian Gulf (also known
as Persian Gulf) and in the Gulf of Oman, in addition to 500 km of Caspian Sea coastline
bordering Iran and about 1840 km of Red Sea coast bordering Saudi Arabia. Except
Oman, all other Gulf countries consume more seafood than their availability from local
waters. Furthermore, wild capture fisheries in Kuwait, Iran and UAE are declining and it
is anticipated that the gap between the fresh fish supply and demand will widen due to the
declining natural fish stocks. To fill up the gap, several research organizations in Arabian
Gulf countries are involved in intensive research programs to develop aquaculture.
Although the major focus of research is on developing marine species for
aquaculture, Iran, Iraq and Saudi Arabia have also inland fishery research programs.
Among Gulf countries, Kuwait was the first country to achieve captive spawning and
hatchery seed production for local grouper and sobaity seabream as well as acclimation
of Tilapia in seawater for commercial production. Species selection for aquaculture
depends on the local demand of each of these countries and based on this research is
focused on both endemic as well as exotic species. The research outcome has enabled the
establishment of commercial marine fish farming using sea-cages, marine shrimp farming
using earthen ponds and commercial tilapia farming as well as integrated tilapia culture
along with agricultural crops.
As a research outcome, Bahrain is producing commercial quantities of fish
fingerlings in their hatchery for sea-cage farming. Research efforts have enabled Iranian
total aquaculture production to increase from 4,935 t in 1978 to 124,000 t in 2004.
Although aquaculture production in Iraq declined from 3,622 t in 1980 to 1,600 t in 1990,
it is steadily increasing and in 2005 the total production reached 12,870 t. Kuwait was the
first country to establish commercial sea-cage fish farming in 1985 and its production
reached up to 400 t during 2000. In Oman the total production through aquaculture was
514 t during 2004.Aquaculture is not well established in Qatar and produced 11 t during
2005. Marine shrimp farming is the major aquaculture activity in Saudi Arabia and has a
targeted annual production of 13,500 t during Phase-I and 17,500 t in Phase-II. Marine
fish production in UAE has increased from 570 t in 2004 to 900 t in 2006/07 period.
Each country has its own constraints and priority issues for developing aquaculture.
One of the major challenges is the non-availability of fish fingerlings from hatchery for
sea-cage farming, especially with reference to local prime species. Furthermore, the low
domestic market price is compelling to search for export oriented production involving
exotic species. In some region, shrimp farming is restricted by adverse environmental
conditions. Aquaculture is expected to have a significant growth in the Arabian Gulf
countries with an overall trend in species diversification as well as development of
intensive culture systems. 

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