On Sunday, May 23, 2021, and in cooperation with the Ministry of Environment, Water and Agriculture and Saudi Aramco, the Center for Environment & Water at King Fahd University of Petroleum and Minerals held a regularly attended workshop, entitled Developing Fisheries and Protecting Their Essential Habitats in Saudi Waters of the Arabian Gulf.
The workshop was attended by many interested parties, including the leadership of border guards in the eastern region and representatives of the Fishermen's Association, in order to learn how the fishery resources team views the protection of some types of fishes and shrimps, as well as their habitats.
The workshop covered two essential topics, such as directed fisheries and the prospects for sustainable management of Saudi fisheries in the Gulf, as well as the assessment of the main fish stocks and their exploitation in Saudi waters of the Arabian Gulf.
Dr. Ali Ahmad Al-Shaikhi, Vice President for Research and Innovation at King Fahd University, opened the workshop by outlining the role of the Fisheries Program in providing stock information and managing fisheries using the newest scientific methods.
"The workshop aims to develop sustainable regulations for fisheries management”. He said.
The Director-General of the Ministry of Environment, Water and Agriculture Branch, Eng. Amer bin Ali Al Mutairi outlined the challenges of fisheries, including climate change, overfishing, coastal sprawl, and others. He said, “The Arabian Gulf is rich in all its layers as well as its contents.”
Dr. Ali Mohammed Al Shaikhi, director-general of the General Directorate of Fisheries and CEO of the National Fisheries Development Program at the Ministry of Environment, Water and Agriculture, stressed that overfishing and improper practices in fishing deplete and consume the fishery resources.
He stated that Saudi Aramco and the Ministry are working to improve fish stocks to preserve the Arabian Gulf's natural resources.
The workshop hosted Dr. Muhammad Qurban, CEO of the National Center for Wildlife Development, and Dr. Ebrahim A.A. Abdulqader, a member of the scientific research team at King Fahd University of Petroleum and Minerals. Both participated in the panel discussion with the audience on the prospects for fisheries management and fishery resources protection.
Two presentations were given at the workshop by KFUPM researchers Dr. Lotfi Rabaoui and Dr. Yu Jia Lin. Dr. Lutfi presented an overview of the fisheries project that lasted for five years (2012-2017), and Dr. Lin presented an assessment of the main fish stocks and the status of their exploitation in the Saudi waters of the Arabian Gulf.
Dr. Lin said: “To improve fishery resource management and ensure sustainability, it is important to know the number and the estimated quantity of fish caught."
Based on the results of the scientific research team, the workshop recommended reducing the shrimp hunting season from 6 months to 4 months, for a period of two years starting from 2021, with continuous evaluation.
It also recommended a ban on fishing of SHERI (Lethrinus nebulosus), SHERI BAKHCHIN (Lethrinus lentjan), grouper (Epinephelus coioides), and grouper catfish (Epinephelus areolatus), for two months, starting from 2021, as well as a ban on fishing of HAMAM GASH (Carangoides bajad) for three years, starting from June 2021.
The workshop participants emphasized the need to continue supporting researches relevant to the study of fishery resources, to ensure the environmental, social, and economic sustainability of this sector.