Wednesday, June 19, 2024

Salt Water

Fishing boats In Arab gulf countries show lately an increase in number, compared with a few years back. They mainly use fiberglass boats, and the old wooden dhows, and recently some speedboats. Some countries have some steel hulled fish trawlers operates in their territorial waters. These vessels were supposed to fish in waters deeper than 20 m. However, they often trawled in shallow water areas and later they were banned in some countries.

The main fishing gears used in Arab gulf countries include shrimp trawls, gillnet, large wire traps (local name gargoor), small gargoor, and hook-and-line. The shallow inshore areas are fished by barrier trap (they have different local names). The shrimp fishery is the most important fishery in all gulf Arab countries. Mainly "Penaeus semisulcatus".

Marine fisheries in Arabian gulf is facing grave environmental issues. In the last few years summer water high temperatures resulted in massive coral bleaching in addition to the continuous land reclamation and dredging. Oil pollution is another major environment danger.

Apart from Iraq and Kuwait, aquaculture is not a traditional activity in most of the Arab gulf countries.However, the recreational fishing sector is slowly developing.

Major Marine fishes in Arabian gulf:

Scientific name Common name Local name
Tenualosa ilisha Hilsa shad SBOUR
Liza oligolepis Mullet BIAH
Pampus argenteus Silver pomfert ZUBAIDI
Arius thalassinus Catfish Chimu
Acanthocybium solandri Wahoo
Pomadasys kaakan Grunt sp. Nagroor
Epinephelus coioides grouper sp. hamoor
Acanthopagrus latus seabream sp. shaem
Lutjanus malabaricus snapper sp. hamrah
Otolithes ruber tigertooth croaker newaiby
Sparidentex hasta sobaity
Sparus aurata gilthead sea bream ?


1. Existing Aquaculture farms in the Arabian Gulf

1.1. Fresh/brackish water fish farms (mainly Tilapia)

Freshwater fish farms are situated in 2 regions, in the South (Al-Wafra) and in the North (Al-Abdally). The farmers are mainly vegetable farmers and are pumping brackish water (salinity : 11 promille) for crop irrigation. They first use thewater for the culture of Bolty fish (Tilapia sp.) (see picture) Tilapia adapt well to brackish waters.The main problems facing the culture of Tilapia in Kuwait are the reproduction of Tilapia in the ponds, with a slow growth of females as a result. Hormonal treatment of larvae is prohibited. An interesting experiment will be done in Faisal Al-Khalid farm.

He started stocking small grouper (Hamoor) fingerlings with Tilapia of a biggersize. They will chase the Tilapia and eat their larvae. The result is hopefully that the Tilapia will grow faster and a supplementary crop of Hamoor will increase the income of the farmer.

Another problem is the high temperatures during summer time. Although the water temperature of the pumped water stays around 25°C, the water in the culture ponds increases till 35 °C, and fish stop eating.

Both these problems are resulting in very high feed conversions of 2.2 till 2.5 .Faisal Al-Khalid farm produced 22 ton of Tilapia this year and will double his capacity next year. He is interested in farming the Black tiger shrimp Penaeus monodon as well and will import some post larvae from Egypt. Integrated culture of ducks and tilapia can save up to 30 % of feed costs

Saudi Arabia
In 1995, 2500 tons of Tilapia species were produced (FAO statistics). Saudi Fisheries Company operates a farm with a capacity of 200 tons per year in Damman. 1.2. Netcage Fish farms (marine fish)


The Directorate of Fisheries operates a fish hatchery. It is still doing experimental work. In the recent past, it has spawned and done some growout experiments with grouper, Epinephelus coioides, rabbitfish, Siganus canaliculatus, sea bream, Acanthopagrus latus, and the sobaity sea bream Acanthopagrus cuvieri. In 1997, sobaity seabream hatchery production was about 600,000 fingerlings. There are no commercial fish farms. Experimetal production is around 30-50 tons per year.


At present, there is only 1 marine fish farm in Kuwait, owned and managed by Bubiyan Fisheries Co. , a government-owned company active in fishing before. The farm is situated near Doha Port, where the water is 11 meters deep, which is the only site with deep water in this area. Should anyone be interested to start a second farm, it should be situated more to the South.

Species cultivated include local species :
Sobaity (Silvery Black Sea Bream, Acanthopagrus cuvieri), Sheim (Yellow-finned Black Sea Bream, Acanthopagrus latus) and Hamoor (Brown-spotted Grouper, Epinephelus tauvina) and one imported species namely the Gilthead Sea Bream(Sparus aurata)

Brown-spotted Grouper
Epinephelus tauvina
Yellow-finned Sea Bream
Acanthopagrus latus
Silvery Black Sea Bream
Acanthopagrus cuvieri
Gilthead Sea Bream
Sparus aurata

Fingerlings (1g) from Gilthead Sea bream are imported from Greece. Most of the production is from this species. Sobaity, Sheim and Hamoor are also cultured in less qualities. Fingerlings are produced by KISR. All fish are fed with a diet for Gilthead sea bream. The local breams Sobaity and Sheim seem to grow faster but are more delicate.
They are more carnivorous (natural diet only fish) then Gilthead sea bream and feed solely on the feed, while Gilthead sea bream also feed on small squid and will clean the nets as well. Average growth period is around 18 months, which includes 1 winter. There are 8 set of 10 cages production volume. Fish are grown till 450 g and are harvested partially until the cage is empty. Expected production will be 500 ton per year. 600 tons of fish in stock on the farm.

1.3. Shrimp aquaculture


Saudi Arabia
2 shrimp farms are situated near the Red Sea. Total production of marine shrimps was about 200 tons in 1995 (FAO statistics), mainly Black tiger prawns (Penaeus monodon). Total production area is about 208 ha. United Arab Emirates SHRIMP CULTURE SET FOR TAKE-OFF IN UAE Shrimp culture on a commercial scale will soon become a reality in the UAE. This optimism is derived from the 100.0% success rate reported in a recent shrimp culture programme conducted on an experimental basis at the Marine Resources Research Centre, MRRC, of the Ministry of Agriculture and fisheries in Umm al Qaiwain.

Speaking to the Khaleej Times, Dr A. Abdulrazzak, Director of the Fisheries Department at the Ministry, said the experiments conducted over the past two years at the centre had recorded encouraging results, with shrimp production ranging from one to three tonnes per hectare per batch. "The survival rate and size of shrimps has also been highly encouraging," he added. Dr Abdulrazzak said the MRRC is now geared to offer technical assistance to the private sector for setting up shrimp culture projects in the country. "However, the Ministry will require a technical and economic feasibility report from organisations before technical guidance in shrimp culture can be extended to them," he said. Earlier, the Centre's only success in this area had been in the production of larvae from brood shrimps (mother shrimps), said Dr Abdulrazzak.

As per the observations of the experiments, two species - Penaeus semisulcatus (green tiger shrimp) the most common and commercially important local species, and Penaeus indicus (white tiger shrimp), a species brought from Saudi Arabia - can now be cultured commercially in the UAE in specially-designed shrimp culture ponds.

These shrimps can achieve a body-weight of 10.0 grammes in three months and 20.0 grammes in six months, indicating a high feed-to-growth conversion ratio. 'Feeding the broodstock with certain invertebrates, worms and bivalves, in addition to manufactured feed, is recommended for these species," Dr Abdulrazzak said. He added that the survival rate in the hatchery at the centre has now increased to anywhere between 30% - 60 % for Penaeus semisulcatus and about 30.0 to 55.0% for Penaeus indicus.

According to Dr Abdulrazzak, the spawning season recorded for PS is from October to July and for PI is is from April to June, as well as from October to December. "This is because the low temperature and low water salinity are suitable for successful breeding," he said. During these months, salinity of water in the UAE is about 39.0 to 42.0 parts per thousand, ppt, while water temperatures range from 17.0 degrees to 33.0 degrees Celsius, he explained.

Currently, the UAE market is flooded with shrimps imported from Oman, Pakistan and Saudi Arabia, the reason being the Government's declared moratorium on fishing for shrimps in UAE waters. "Fishermen are banned from using trawlers and traditional equipment such as wire traps and nets necessary for catching shrimps, since they damage the seabed and destroy the deep seanatural habitat," Dr Abdulrazzak said.

However, once the private sector comes forward to set up commercial shrimp projects in the country, locally cultured shrimps will dominate the market. "They will fetch a price similar to, or slightly more than, that of their competitors since the catch will be marketed as fresh, and not frozen, produce," stated the Director. (The Khaleej Times)

2. Market for Fish Feed products
2.1. Fish feed for Fresh/Brackish Water Fish Tilapia feeds are now imported (the Netherlands and Saudi Arabia). Presenty, both pelleted feed and extruded feed are used. Analysis of the samples gave the following results : % nr 1 nr 2 nr 3 nr 4
Moisture 5.24 8.42 8.44 8.54
Crude Proteins 49.7 34.4 33.6 35.0
Crude Fat 14.8 11.7 11.7 10.8
Ash content 9.10 8.10 7.94 8.20
Ca 1.78 1.36 1.50 1.48
P 1.32 1.3 1.30 1.28

182 ton of Tilapia was consumed in 1997. If more farmers are motivated to start Tilapia farming, growth could be explosive in the following years. Already 60 farmers are producing now. Marketing the Tilapia could become a temporary problem in the future since Kuwaitis prefer traditionally sea fishes, but with 900000 expatriates of which 400000 Egyptians the market for a cheaper source of fish should be big enough.
A new production unit for extruded fish feeds will be set up in Kuwait and would be fully operational in 2000. The fishfeed produced in this unit will be fresher and thus give the farmers better results.

2.2. Fish feed for Marine fish


Present consumption is estimated at 60-80 tons per year.


Bubiyan Fisheries consumes around 1500 tons per year. Their feed conversion is around 2.2 to 2.5. Feeds used at present are imported from the Netherlands and Saudi Arabia, the latter giving unsatisfactory results. Analysis gives the following : % Brand nr 1 Brand nr 2
Moisture 11.5 9.10
Crude Proteins 47.8 49.7
Crude Fat 14.2 15.2
Ash content 9.28 11.40
Ca 1.67 2.38
P 1.07 1.40

There are no differences in the crude analysis results, so the difference could be in the quality of proteins (vegetable source soybeans or marine fish meal), fat and vitamins.The new production unit for extruded fish feeds will also produce a line of feeds for marine fish.

2.3. Feed for Marine shrimp
At present, shrimp are only farmed on a commercial basis in Saudi Arabia. There are however, several plans for developments in the future.The new production unit also has the possibility to produce feeds for shrimp if there is a demand.