MME’s Aquaculture Department aims for self-sufficiency

Qatar’s Ministry of Municipality and Environment’s (MME) Aquaculture Department is planning to licence six projects to meet its fish production gap of 6,000 tonnes per year, it is learnt.

Speaking to reporters on the sidelines of the ‘French Technologies in Agriculture’ seminar in Doha on Tuesday, MME’s Aquaculture Department head Mohamed al-Abdulla said Qatar’s current fish requirement reaches 46,000 tonnes annually and current production is at 40,000 tonnes.

“I want to meet this (6,000tonne) target this year but we do have a procedure (to follow) and we want to take it one step at a time,” al-Abdulla stressed, adding that they are also working on an experiment to grow fresh water fishes such as “tilapia.”

Currently, he said Qatar is producing at 1,000 tonnes of fresh water fish annually and hopes to increase production in the near future with the use of modern technology to meet the growing demand.

MME has already licenced one company and it is set to licence two more either this year or next year, according to al-Abdulla.

Such move, he said, forms part of the Ministry’s efforts to attain self-sufficiency in aquaculture production.

In his presentation at the seminar, al-Abdulla cited the completion of the QR237.7mn Aquatic Fisheries and Research Centre in Ras Matbakh, which is estimated to operate in April.

The new state-of-the-art facility aims to develop the aquaculture sector in the country and carry out experiments and researches aimed at setting up adequate aquaculture techniques by using the latest rearing fish and shrimp technology suitable for local fish species.

The research centre is also designed to provide good quality fish fingerlings at low price to encourage the private sector to establish fish farm projects, al-Abdulla said.

“The research centre aims to train local staff in aquaculture technology to increase their skills in the field of aquaculture techniques and fish farm management,” he added.

Meanwhile, the seminar, organised by Business France under the auspices of the French embassy in Doha, brought 13 French agribusiness companies who are willing share their expertise with Qatar aimed at helping the country attain self-sufficiency in vegetable, fruit and fish production.

These companies, specialised in the farming sector, cover a wide variety of activities such as equipment, agriculture products, technical expertise, innovative and sustainable growing solutions for farming, fruits and vegetables production, and aquaculture and fisheries.

The delegation is scheduled to visit local farms today, it is learnt.

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