Qatar will be launching six new projects to meet 100 percent demand for fish in the local market, a senior official of the Ministry of Municipality and Environment (MME) has said.
Speaking on the side lines of ‘French Technologies in Agriculture’ conference in Doha on Tuesday, Mohammed al Abdullah, head of Aquaculture Department at MME, said that currently the annual fish production in Qatar stands between 14,000 and 16,000 tonnes.
“We are still short of 6,000 tonnes of fish to meet 100 percent annual demand in the domestic market,” Abdullah said.
In order to make up the difference in gap, the ministry has decided to launch more fishery projects in the country.
Out of the six projects, license for one project has already been given to a private company, while licenses for two more projects would be issued to two private firms by the end of this year. Licences for the rest of the three projects would also be issued at the earliest.
Besides these six marine fishery projects, Abdullah said, the ministry is also in the process of licensing local farmers for freshwater fish farming.
Currently, the production of freshwater fish in Qatar is around 1,000 tonnes per annum, he said, adding that it is not enough to meet the local demand as expatriates from Asian countries like India, Bangladesh, Nepal, Thailand and Philippines are very fond of freshwater fish.
The freshwater fish farming mainly focuses on production of Tilapia. “We have plans to produce other types of fishes as well depending on the demand of the local market,” he said.
The ministry has approached global firms to work on the latest aquaponics methods in Qatar. Aquaponics is a system of aquaculture in which the waste produced by farmed fish or other aquatic creatures supplies the nutrients for plants grown hydroponically, which in turn purify the water.
“We have chalked out a comprehensive strategy to encourage and support local farmers to adopt aquaponics in order to maintain the levels of fish stock in the country,” he said.