Red Sea shore loses up to 70% of its fish stock to pollution

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Updated 27 August 2013

Red Sea shore loses up to 70% of its fish stock to pollution

Environmental pollution on the Red Sea shore has caused the loss of up to 70 percent of its fishing wealth, said an official for fishing affairs in Saudi Arabia. Despite government efforts, fish stock has depleted.
Losses in commercial fishing have led to the industry importing fish. The domestic fishing industry doesn’t cover more than 40 percent of local demand, which witnessed an increase during the summer. During that time, demand is high and catch low as a result of fish migration because of high temperatures.
“Fish production in the Red Sea has decreased during the past 20 years because of environmental pollution,” said Khalid Al-Shweiki, director-general of the Fishermen's Cooperative Society. 
"Government authorities are preventing the disposal of sewage water into the sea. These efforts contributed to stabilizing production percentages over the past five years, but these quantities can’t meet the increasing demand," he added.
“Despite the efforts of the Ministry of Agriculture and its partnership with social security experts in establishing fishing ports at various locations on the Red Sea shore, only a few Saudis continue to work in the fishing profession as compared to their forefathers,” he said, adding fishing doesn’t provide enough income to meet their daily expenses.
Even though expatriates have not been allowed to work in fishing for the past four years, they still represent the majority of those who work in the sector. Out of 20,000 fishermen, only 25 to 30 percent are Saudis.  “The entire expanse of sea lying between Jeddah and Qunfuda is polluted and has resulted in the depletion of the fish resources and the total disappearance of tuna. Reckless fishing damages the fish-breeding environment,” says Abdullah Al-Sayed, a fisherman in Jeddah.
He added that sewage-pumping is another major factor that has led to the destruction of habitats of fish and other sea organisms. Even locations away from coastal areas are not free from the ravages caused by coastal pollutants. “Undersea currents and wind carrying coastal pollutants to distant parts of the sea include locations where various types of fish grow in large numbers,” Al-Sayed told Arab News.
Pollution in the Red Sea has reached epic proportions. Coral reefs spanning thousands of kilometers along the coastline in the region are under threat of extinction. It has recently come under severe pressure due to illegal fishing, the depositing of untreated sewage, the shipping of waste including toxic substances and increased shipping activities carrying chemicals and crude oil.
Al-Shweiki said any attempt to stop incoming labor to work in fishing, especially those who are currently in the Kingdom, would threaten food security. The monthly income of these workers does not exceed SR1,500.
The low income keeps Saudis away from working in this industry, in addition to their lack of experience in this field. The price of fish is expected to go down 40 percent at the beginning of September, but nonetheless prices are much higher than they were a few years ago.

He said this is a world crisis and it is not limited to the local market.
“There is an international shortage in fish wealth, which pushed many countries to establish fish farms to curb the effects of the crisis, when demand is much higher than supply,” said Al-Shweiki. 
He pointed out that one of the most important factors that led to the fishing crisis, especially in the Red Sea, was environmental pollution, the rising temperatures during summer and the intensive fishing of gold fish. 
“Even though the price of fish in Saudi Arabia is one of the lowest in the world, its import volume from other countries reaches 60 to 70 percent to meet local demand,” he added.
Saudi Arabia imports fish from Oman, Yemen the United Arab Emirates and Pakistan, which is famous for its shrimp production. Al-Shweiki said rumors about the quality of imported fish, in particular frozen fish from Vietnam, are baseless. Those who don't want people to consume fish spread these rumors, and they spring from dishonest commercial competition, he alleged. 
All fish coming into Saudi Arabia meet high specifications. Only high quality fish, which has passed all required tests, is allowed into the market, he said.

Saudi Cabinet voices support for the territorial sovereignty of Cyprus

King Salman chairs the Cabinet session on Tuesday. The meeting reviewed the Kingdom’s economic progress. (SPA)
Updated 22 January 2020

Saudi Cabinet voices support for the territorial sovereignty of Cyprus

  • Kingdom calls for security to be maintained in the region

RIYADH: Saudi Arabia has voiced its support for Cyprus’ territorial sovereignty amid growing tensions following the discovery of oil and gas reserves in the eastern Mediterranean.

The Saudi Cabinet, chaired by King Salman, on Tuesday said it was watching developments in the eastern Mediterranean “with great interest,” and called for security and stability to be maintained in the region.
The Cabinet also reviewed the Kingdom’s progress among 190 economies in the World Bank’s Women, Business and the Law 2020 report, which placed it first among GCC countries and second in the Arab world on legislative reforms relating to women.
Saudi Arabia’s Vision 2030 program supports the implementation of reforms that enhance women’s role in economic development, raising the Kingdom’s competitiveness regionally and globally.
Minister of Media Turki bin Abdullah Al-Shabanah said the Cabinet reviewed several reports on developments in regional and international arenas.
The Cabinet reiterated the Kingdom’s assertion during the fourth session of the Arab Parliament in Cairo that its policy is based on the principles of peaceful coexistence and good neighborliness, full respect for the sovereignty and independence of states, noninterference in their internal affairs, and its belief that these principles are capable of resolving all conflicts, foremost the Arab-Israeli conflict.


The Cabinet reviewed efforts to promote political solutions to crises in Syria, Yemen, Libya and Sudan, calling on all to take action to address destabilizing foreign threats and interventions.

The Cabinet also reviewed efforts to promote political solutions to crises in Syria, Yemen, Libya and Sudan, calling on all to take action to address destabilizing foreign threats and interventions and to “move forward toward the aspirations of security, stability and development of Arab countries and their peoples.”
On regional affairs, the Cabinet condemned an attack on a military site in Niger, the bombing of a security checkpoint and a tax collection center in Somalia, and the terrorist strike by Houthi militia on a mosque in the Marib governorate, which resulted in dozens of deaths and injuries.
The Cabinet session also authorized the minister of foreign affairs or his deputy to sign a draft protocol on establishing diplomatic relations between Saudi Arabia and Zimbabwe.
An agreement on social development between the the Kingdom and Tunisia was also approved along with a memorandum of understanding for scientific and technical cooperation with Spain.
The Cabinet also approved an agreement for scientific and geological cooperation between the Saudi Geological Survey and the Russian State Geological Company.