80m-year-old lizard skeleton among Red Sea fossil ‘treasures’

Bones of an enormous marine lizard aged over 80 million years were found in the Western Terrains of Saudi Arabia after ten days of preliminary excavation work carried out by the Saudi Geological Survey. (Supplied)
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Bones of an enormous marine lizard aged over 80 million years were found in the Western Terrains of Saudi Arabia after ten days of preliminary excavation work carried out by the Saudi Geological Survey. (Supplied)
Bones of an enormous marine lizard aged over 80 million years were found in the Western Terrains of Saudi Arabia after ten days of preliminary excavation work carried out by the Saudi Geological Survey. (Supplied)
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Bones of an enormous marine lizard aged over 80 million years were found in the Western Terrains of Saudi Arabia after ten days of preliminary excavation work carried out by the Saudi Geological Survey. (Supplied)
SGS Crew west of AMAALA. (Supplied)
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SGS Crew west of AMAALA. (Supplied)
Bones of an enormous marine lizard aged over 80 million years were found in the Western Terrains of Saudi Arabia after ten days of preliminary excavation work carried out by the Saudi Geological Survey. (Supplied)
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Bones of an enormous marine lizard aged over 80 million years were found in the Western Terrains of Saudi Arabia after ten days of preliminary excavation work carried out by the Saudi Geological Survey. (Supplied)
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Updated 31 May 2022

80m-year-old lizard skeleton among Red Sea fossil ‘treasures’

80m-year-old lizard skeleton among Red Sea fossil ‘treasures’
  • The excavations along the Red Sea coast unearthed fossil samples ranging from the late Cretaceous to the Eocene period

JEDDAH: Fossilized remains of a large marine lizard dating back more than 80 million years have been found during excavation work in Saudi Arabia’s western region.

Saudi Geological Survey staff involved in mapping the Kingdom discovered the skeletal remains of the reptile — one of the earliest records of marine life to be found in the Red Sea coastal area.

The discovery was revealed on Tuesday during an announcement by the Red Sea Development Company of a partnership with the SGS to carry out one of Kingdom’s largest-ever geological surveys in the region.

John Pagano, CEO of RSDC and the AMAALA luxury tourism project, said that the partnership will help to identify areas of unique geological importance and uncover the rich natural history of the Arabian Peninsula.

“The spirit of adventure has always been tied to the essence of discovery. Our destination is already home to the site of Saudi Arabia’s first underwater excavation, but above the water, we are now finding geological and paleontological evidence of millions of years of activity in the region,” he said.

Pagano added: “This partnership continues our commitment as a responsible developer to identifying, preserving, and displaying these natural treasures found right beneath our feet. Paleontology is a growing area of study within the Kingdom, and we are hoping to help support interest in discovering the ancient heritage buried along our coastline.”

The excavations along the Red Sea coast unearthed fossil samples ranging from the late Cretaceous to the Eocene period — roughly 80 to 45 million years ago. About half of the sites surveyed produced rare finds, with researchers expecting to discover many more on future digs.

Saudi Geological Survey CEO Abdullah Shamrani said: “The rare finds from the central coastal areas of the Red Sea tell fascinating stories about the evolution of life in the region over tens of millions of years.” 

He said that the TRSDC partnership will help to uncover “the mysteries of these important and unexplored geological areas,” highlighting the historic value of the destination.

“I’m sure we will discover important landmarks for geology that tourists from around the world will want to learn about and see for themselves.”

Several marine vertebrates found by the excavation team were recorded for the first time in the area, including remains of one of the largest turtles thought to have ever inhabited the region. These findings follow the earlier discovery of part of a skull from a plesiosaur, a large marine reptile, at the site.

In 2021, TRSDC and SGS signed a joint technical agreement related to geological, environmental and marine research, as well as geo-engineering and geotechnical studies for the Red Sea region in the northwest of the Kingdom.


Saudi crown prince receives letter from Costa Rican president

Saudi crown prince receives letter from Costa Rican president
Updated 15 August 2022

Saudi crown prince receives letter from Costa Rican president

Saudi crown prince receives letter from Costa Rican president
  • Handwritten letter discussed relations between the two countries and ways to develop them in all fields

RIYADH: Saudi Arabia’s Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman received a letter from the President of Costa Rica Rodrigo Chaves, Saudi Press Agency reported on Monday.

The handwritten letter discussed the solid and close relations between the two countries and ways to develop them in all fields.

The letter was received by the Saudi Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs Waleed bin Abdulkarim Al-Khuraiji during a meeting with the non-resident ambassador of Costa Rica to the Kingdom Francisco Chacon Hernandez.

The two officials spoke about bilateral relations, means to enhance them in various fields, and issues of mutual interest.


Saudi, Bahrain ministers discuss labor regulation

Saudi, Bahrain ministers discuss labor regulation
Updated 15 August 2022

Saudi, Bahrain ministers discuss labor regulation

Saudi, Bahrain ministers discuss labor regulation
  • Al-Rajhi hails Bahraini worker social protections

RIYADH: Bahraini Minister of Labor Jameel bin Mohammad Ali Humaidan met with Saudi Minister of Human Resources and Social Development Ahmed bin Suleiman Al-Rajhi on Monday in Riyadh, Bahrain News Agency reported.

The meeting focused on ways to improve technical cooperation in areas of job localization programs and labor market regulation, as well as plans to integrate job seekers and develop human resources.

They examined plans by the two countries to train and qualify citizens, as well as the application of professional standards.

Al-Rajhi reviewed the most significant developments in the Saudi labor market, as well as major projects and initiatives launched in the framework of training and job creation.

The minister also lauded Bahrain’s position and leadership in labor market regulation, citing the country’s experience in improving social protection for workers through the unemployment insurance system.

 


Summer scout camp for girls launched in Asir

Summer scout camp for girls launched in Asir
Updated 15 August 2022

Summer scout camp for girls launched in Asir

Summer scout camp for girls launched in Asir
  • The five-day camp in Abha aims to build character and offer participants an attractive and safe educational environment
  • Abha, the capital city of Asir province near the Red Sea in southwest Saudi Arabia, is known for its mountains and wildlife

JEDDAH: A summer scout camp for girls was launched in Asir on Sunday.

The five-day camp in Abha aims to build character and offer participants an attractive and safe educational environment in which to practice scouting activities that meet girls’ needs through global awareness programs so they can serve the community.

There are 50 girls from across the Kingdom taking part in the camp.

Abha, the capital city of Asir province near the Red Sea in southwest Saudi Arabia, is known for its mountains and wildlife. Its high altitude and cool weather make it more suitable for outdoor and camping activities than other Saudi regions at this time of year.

The director-general of education in the region, Ahmed Al-Omari, said the camp sought to develop girl scouts to help achieve sustainable development indicators, enhance the values of belonging and national loyalty, and qualify girl scouts to represent the country at local and international forums.

It also aimed to prepare scouting teams to help Hajj and Umrah pilgrims, enhance scouting skills to help serve the country in emergencies and crises, and qualify participants to obtain different ranks and accolades.

The camp has several scouting tracks such as sports, training, education, and the environment. It has 17 programs, including hiking, motor competitions, and summer parties.

Activities include first aid courses, chanting, crowd management, cybersecurity, and planting.


Saudi Ministry of Culture launches Suppliers’ Portal

Saudi Ministry of Culture launches Suppliers’ Portal
Updated 15 August 2022

Saudi Ministry of Culture launches Suppliers’ Portal

Saudi Ministry of Culture launches Suppliers’ Portal
  • Platform lets suppliers register for business, submit documents 

RIYADH: The Saudi Ministry of Culture on Monday launched the Suppliers’ Portal, which facilitates communication with local and international suppliers.

Through the portal, suppliers can register and express interest in working with the ministry and its affiliated bodies.

They can also submit legal documents and qualification requirements, generate invoices and track completion certificates through the portal.

Suppliers may make inquiries and requests about other projects submitted by competitors using the portal.

By creating a comprehensive and specialized database for suppliers, the ministry aims to improve the quality of services and meet the cultural objectives of Saudi Vision 2030.


Two-month ban on catching Kingfish in Arabian Gulf underway

Two-month ban on catching Kingfish in Arabian Gulf underway
Updated 15 August 2022

Two-month ban on catching Kingfish in Arabian Gulf underway

Two-month ban on catching Kingfish in Arabian Gulf underway
  • Six GCC states are committed to the two-month ban to protect breeding mothers with eggs during spawning and small Kingfish

RIYADH: A two-month ban on catching Kingfish in the Arabian Gulf started Monday, following an announcement from Saudi Arabia’s Ministry of Environment, Water, and Agriculture.

“The application of the ban on fishing ‘Kanaad’ or Kingfish on the coasts of the Arabian Gulf in the Eastern Region for two months begins August 15,” said a MEWA statement issued in coordination with Gulf Cooperation Council states.

The six GCC states are committed to the two-month ban to protect breeding mothers with eggs during spawning and small Kingfish, and provide more opportunities for breeding and egg-laying.

The GCC Agricultural Cooperation Committee required Gulf states in 2019 to take measures to protect Kingfish, such as increasing the legal length of fish allowed to be caught, increasing the eye opening in nets, and defining the season for the fishing ban.

MEWA official and CEO of the National Fisheries Development Program, Dr. Ali Al-Shaikhi, told Arab News: “The ban is important to maintain the supplies of Kingfish, regulate the fishing process, avoid draining the Kingfish fisheries, and reduce the pressure of the fishing effort to balance supplies and fishing.”

Dr. Ali Al-Shaikhi, director general of the General Directorate of Fisheries at MEWA and CEO of the National Fisheries Development Program. (Supplied)

He said the ban promoted sustainable fishing in environmental, economic, and social terms, boosted the fishing industry, and ensured a good standard of living.

He added that the ban contributed to reducing the depletion of those fish species, maintaining sustainable strategic stocks, and allowing mothers to lay eggs during the ban period.

Al-Shaikhi believed the ministry had succeeded in reducing fishing efforts in fish stores in the Arabian Gulf in recent years, thereby ensuring the protection and sustainability of natural marine resources.

Bans had contributed to the growth and improvement of stocks and supplies, allowing Kingfish to multiply and grow in large quantities and sell at competitive prices in markets, he said.

The bans also educated fishermen about the importance of complying with laws protecting marine resources.

Jaafar al-Safwani, an adviser to the Safwa Fishermen's Cooperative Society. (Supplied)

Al-Shaikhi emphasized that the ban was part of the ministry’s desire to achieve its strategic objectives on the sustainability of natural systems, the strengthening of fisheries supplies and quantities, and the sustainability of production.

Bans regulated Kingfish catching through selective means, ensuring the increase of its vital quantities in the waters of the Arabian Gulf and ensuring market price stability.

“There is no doubt that the Eastern Region/Qatif Fisheries Research Center plays an important role in sensitizing and mentoring fishermen to raise awareness of the importance of the prohibition period for certain economic fish.”

Amer Al-Mutairi, director-general of MEWA’s eastern region branch, said the ban included the use of gillnets.

Jaafar al-Safwani, an adviser to the Safwa Fishermen's Cooperative Society, said the bans helped preserve the marine environment, particularly for shrimp, Kingfish, and other fish species.

Safwani, who was a member of the Committee on Agriculture, Fisheries and Livestock at the Chamber of Commerce, Eastern Province, told Arab News: “The bans contribute to the indirect improvement of fishermen's income because the ban at certain times of the year allows breeding and improvements in the environment in which many fish live, thereby providing fishermen with more fish and larger volumes throughout the year. Besides, the price of fish increases.”