The chairperson of National Fishier Development Program (NFDP) of Saudi Arabia stated that the aquaculture sector of the country will attract more than $ 4 billion in domestic and global investment. According to the NFDP’s CEO, Dr. Ali Al-Shaikhi, a committee study done in 2010 revealed that the potential of Saudi Arabia to produce seafood is more than a million tons. There was a report published in 2014, which suggested that the NDFP guidance will help in improvement of country’s facilities for aquaculture.
Officials set an aim to boost the aquaculture sector production from 100,000 tons in year 2020 to 300,000 tons and then 600,000 tons by 2025 and 2030 respectively. Taking consideration of these figures, the marine farms of fishes are expected to contribute a total of 450,000 tons, whereas the land-based fish and shrimp farms will account for the rest of total.
Before joining NFPD back in 2017 Al-Shaikhi also served in the National group of Aquaculture.
In an interview to the Arab News, he told, “The preparation of smooth platform for the investment is very important and we are working on it. During the last three years of period, NFPD spends about $80 million (SR300 million) on measuring environments, carrying feasibilities reports, calculation consumption rates of feed, and identifying the right cultivated species.”
He further added, “The NFPD developed the fish feed and also fish hatcheries and we’re also working on the development of techniques for the food processing. Once all the important aspect are in-lined then farmers and investors have on only focus on the production. The private sector is also getting involved with use to achieve the goals. With the government support and new regulations in the terms we are making investment faster and easier, while identifying opportunities of investment.”
The aquaculture sector has a large potential and over three thousand Saudis are working in this sector. Due to lack of domestic courses for aquaculture, the NDFP will help the hundred young Saudis to study abroad, with 30 percent funds come from government while private sector assists 70 percent of the total funds. Al-Shaikhi also mentioned about a deal with the local institution to teach three thousand facilities in fishers and aquaculture sector.