Middle East Aquaculture Growth - New Wave of Sustainability
Sam Macdonald | March 19, 2018
As the population continues to grow and food import cost increase, the Middle East aquaculture industry aims to become a leader in food supply sustainability for the region around the world.
New Wave for Middle East AquacultureDubai has long been known globally, as the gem of the Persian Gulf and a mecca for tourists in the West looking to experience the luxury lifestyle and Emirates culture. With its endless blue skies (it rains, at most, 5 days a year), architectural marvels (the Burj Kalifa and the Burj Al Arab Jumeirah) and pristine white beaches and deserts – the oasis of the United Arab Emirates have been a leader in tourism for destination vacations for 30 years.
There is now a new industry growing within the Persian Gulf - beginning to draw a different kind of visitor to the region. That industry is Aquaculture.
This past week, the Dubai World Trade Centre and Informa Exhibitions, hosted AgraMe (Agricultural & Middle East Aquaculture). The show has expanded its agriculture-based showcase to include the rapidly growing aquaculture sectors of the Middle East and Africa, highlighting the burgeoning industry with conference sessions meant to educate and inform visitors about techniques, technology and the importance of eco-friendly based systems.
Why is the Middle East turning to local water sources to ensure food security?
An Increase in Population in the Middle East and AfricaThe population of the Middle East and Africa is expected to double by 2050 to 2.8 billion. This massive increase has placed food and water security as significant agenda items for the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC). The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates and Oman have recognized that in the very near future, having a reliable source of protein available to the population, at a reasonable cost will be necessary.
High Cost of Fish ImportsThe cost of importing fish has increased across the globe. As ocean resources begin to deplete and subsequently trawling and other forms of mass fishing become heavily restricted – the price of fish has increased around the world. Nations, previously reliant on countries such as China, Russia, the United States and Norway for massive fish imports are now finding it unaffordable.
A Decrease in Sustainable ResourcesA lack of fresh water, harsh weather conditions, and lack of fresh soil suitable for fruits or vegetables have begun to turn the regions financial resources and government support to explore and support the Aquaculture industry. The timing is right for the region to begin to use the resources they have available locally, that haven’t been considered – like the Persian Gulf.
Global Aquaculture at AgraMEThe opportunity and the importance of the industry have leveraged the GCC’s governments to encourage local and foreign investment, specific to the aquaculture sector. By ensuring support through providing fingerlings of local species, the creation of eco-friendly frameworks, and mapping out suitable sites for farms, they have opened the door to making the Persian Gulf a mecca for modern, environmentally friendly, and sustainable aquaculture facilities.
Events, such as AgraME, with a growing division exclusive to the aquaculture sector, have begun to draw experts from around the world, disseminating knowledge, experience, and technology to the Middle East aquaculture industry. Aquaculture heavy hitters such as Ahmed bin Saleh AlKhamshi – Deputy Minister for the Ministry of Environment, Water and Aquaculture in Saudi Arabia, Khomo Morake – Director of Aquaculture Technical Services for South Africa, and Sam MacDonald, President of Deep Trekker Inc – are leading discussions on eco-friendly farming, the need to provide viable, healthy protein to the growing population and advanced technologies in monitoring and inspection.
Exhibitors are platforming the newest and most advanced ideas in farming, feeding, and harvesting; providing environmentally friendly options to ensure compliance with government regulations. The growth of the AgraME event, and the diverse attendance of visitors from not only the Middle East, but Africa and beyond, speaks volumes to the GCC’s commitment to growing and sustaining the aquaculture environment.
Underwater Drones for the Aquaculture Industry
Deep Trekker has long been involved in providing tools for underwater asset management. The DTG2 underwater drone, more commonly known as a Remotely Operated Vehicle (ROV), provides site managers the ability to quickly inspect netting, cages, moorings, and stock health all from the surface of the farm.
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