Saudi Arabia is working to establish a regional center for fisheries, a Saudi minister told a conference in Riyadh on Sunday, as part of its bigger goals to diversify the economy and address food security.

Saudi Minister of Environment, Water, and Agriculture Abdulrahman Al-Fadley said the government is keen to develop fish farming, describing it as one of the fastest-growing food sectors in the world.

“We have created initiatives that involve the private sector in developing this sector,” he said during the opening of the Saudi international Marine and Exhibition Conference or SIMEC.

The Saudi minister, who also heads the National Fisheries Development Program, said investing in fisheries is also in line with the Kingdom’s efforts to address food security, which is a common issue across the Gulf.

“We are working on establishing a regional center for fisheries, and establishing an academy dedicated to fisheries,” Al-Fadley added.

One of the projects the Saudi government is working on is developing seaweed, the minister said.

Manuel Barage, director of fisheries and aquaculture division of UN unit Food and Agriculture Organization, highlighted the important role the Kingdom could play in the region.

He said the Kingdom produces 49 percent of the total aquaculture across the Gulf, adding the even is a “great opportunity” to capitalize on this.


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