The new Aquatic Research Centre will play a strategic role in developing Qatar’s fisheries wealth, HE the Minister of Municipality and Environment Abdullah bin Abdulaziz bin Turki al-Subaie has said.
HE the Prime Minister and Minister of Interior Sheikh Abdullah bin Nasser bin Khalifa al-Thani yesterday opened the Aquatic Research Centre of the Ministry of Municipality and Environment (MME) at Ras Matbakh in Al Khor and Al Thakira Municipality.
Speaking on the sidelines of the inauguration, HE al-Subaie told Gulf Times that the centre will focus on conducting research on marine life and creating the best conditions to ensure its enrichment.
“Preserving endangered varieties and production of high-quality fish as per the needs of the local market will be a priority. The centre will focus on climatic factors in order to provide fish with the ideal environment to thrive in,” he said.
The minister said the centre has the latest technologies and will carry out research in co-operation with Qatar University (QU) on fisheries and how to create the best environment for fish, according to the official Qatar News Agency (QNA).
There will also be research on how to save endangered fish.
Fish farming projects will be linked to the newly opened centre in order to obtain the best results.
The centre is expected to help increase fish production, preserve marine wealth, promote research and meet the demands of the market.
Sheikh Dr Faleh bin Nasser al-Thani, Assistant Undersecretary of Agriculture and Fisheries Affairs at the MME, said the centre would serve multiple goals that would benefit the environment and the economy.
He noted that it would help supply fish farms with certain types of fish to meet local demand.
He added that there would also be a method to grow freshwater fish such as tilapia and others to attain self-sufficiency.
Sheikh Dr Faleh said the production capacity of the centre would be increased to 20mn (larvae).
Mohamed Mahmoud al-Abdullah, director of the centre, said the facility mainly focuses on the production of young fish and research in partnership with QU and the production of fish with marketing value in minimum time.
Abdulaziz al-Duhaimi, director of the Fish Resources Department at the MME, said the centre has research and environmental goals that will help serve the cause of biological diversity in addition to training Qatari cadres to carry out its work.
The centre has a fish growing unit with a production capacity of 1.5mn baby fish weighing 10gm each.
It has also got a final growing unit with a capacity of 8 tonnes per year.
These are in addition to shrimp farming facilities and a shrimp hatchery unit that will produce about 2mn units a year.
Al-Duhaimi said the extent of self-sufficiency in fresh fish production currently stands at 75%.
He expected this to reach 100% with the help of fish farming projects, stressing that the fish stock in Qatar was increasing.
QU president Dr Hassan Rashid al-Derham said the university has always been committed to the environment and marine science, evident from the programme it launched on the topic.
The university, with support from the State, also built research vessel ‘Janan’ to advance research efforts in the field.
He added that QU supported the Aquatic Research Centre since the idea was first proposed.
Head of labs at the centre, Dr Ibrahim Abdullatif al-Mesalmani, said the facility will be crucial to the country’s fish farm efforts.
He also praised the partnership between the MME and QU to save endangered fish.
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