RIYADH: Saudi Deputy Minister of Environment, Water and Agriculture Mansour Al-Mushaiti presented a review this week of the Kingdom’s efforts to preserve natural resources and raise the efficiency and productivity of its fishing industry.
Al-Mushaiti was participating in the second High-Level Conference on the Blue Belt Initiative, held in Agadir, Morocco, on Jan. 31. He explained that one of the objectives of Saudi Vision 2030 is to boost the Kingdom’s food security and diversify its economy, and that the fish sector will play an important role in this.
Al-Mushaiti praised Saudi Arabia’s efforts to apply the concept of comprehensive sustainability, a central part of the BBI.
The minister stressed that Saudi Arabia is following an “ambitious national strategy to achieve optimal utilization of natural resources in the sea and inland waters with smart and sustainable methodologies, in order to provide food, improve livelihoods and contribute to increasing the gross domestic product.”
He added that the ministry has launched a national program to develop the livestock and fisheries sector to act as a strategic partner of both the government and private sectors and to contribute to developing infrastructure, managing fish stocks, implementing the national fishing initiative, supporting fishermen, and increasing productivity. Other initiatives include research and development programs, and marketing campaigns to increase awareness and consumption of local seafood products.
Al-Mushaiti further explained that, through this program, the Kingdom aims to produce over half a million tons of aquaculture over the next eight years.
In support of these efforts, Al-Mushaiti noted, Saudi Arabia will host the International Conference on Algae and Seaweeds on Feb. 12 — the first such conference to be held in the Middle East. It will see ministers and a group of scientific experts draw up an executive roadmap for the launching of mega projects.