Qatar fights against climate change with expanded fish farming

    15 May 2021

    Qatari initiatives to expand fish farming in Gulf waters can prevent the depletion of resources caused by the impact of climate change, Doha News reports.

    Depletion of fishery stocks has prompted Qatar to expand fish farming efforts in offshore Gulf waters. At the same time the demand for fresh produce in local markets grows.

    Research Assistant Professor at Qatar University Pedro Range explained the journalists that damage to coral reefs caused by global warming and overfishing could potentially cause a 30% decline in future fish catch potential in Qatari waters by the end of the XXI century.

    “While fish in the Gulf have generally adapted to higher water temperatures, the frequency and scope of coral reef bleaching in recent years suggest the region is at real risk of losing its bio-diverse ecosystem in the coming decades”, scientist added.

    According to Range, there’s hope that fish farm production will prevent the depletion of fish stocks in offshore waters. But if the broader international problem of overproduction of greenhouse gases that result in climate change is not being solved, Qatar local fish-preservation efforts will be in vain.

    Last November, Qatar launched Samakna, the region’s first offshore aquaculture project in Qatar’s open water, which uses floating-cage technology.

    Under Al Qamra holding, Qatar’s leading business conglomerate, Samkna is located 50 km offshore from Qatar’s Ruwais region and produces 2,000 tonnes of fish annually.

    “We have started an expansion plan to double our production capacity to 4,000 tonnes. We are obtaining permits for the expansion and building new cages. Five years from now, we expect to cover 60% of local demand”, said operations and development director for marine aquaculture at Al-Qumra Mahmoud Tahoun.

    In 2020 local media asked the Director of Aquatic Research Centre at Ras Matbakh, Ibrahim Salman Al Mohannadi about the State’s plan to increase the strategic stock of fish in Qatari waters. He answered that ARC is working on farming and releasing baby fish of four types of local fish and prawn in sea.

    Baby fish are being released in Qatari waters under a program of Second National Development Strategy of 2018-22 of fish sector which aims at increasing the self-sufficiency of fish production in the country.

    A University of British Columbia study in 2018 found that a third of marine species could become extinct in the Gulf by 2090 because of rising water temperature, changing salinity and oxygen levels, and human activities such as overfishing.

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