Saudi Arabia’s production of fish slumped by 50 per cent as a result of extreme weather conditions triggered by climate change, according to officials and industry sources.
Saudi Arabia consumes 300,000 tonnes of fish a year, of which 190,000 tonnes are imported from abroad, while local production stands at 110,000 tonnes, according to undersecretary of the Saudi ministry of agriculture, Jabir al-Shihri.
In remarks to Al-Eqtisadiah, al-Shihri explains that higher temperature and stronger wind movement this season sent the kingdom’s local fish production tumbling by 50 per cent.
The official says the current shortage in fish supplies to the local market is “temporary and seasonal”, noting that the ministry allows fish imports from all world countries without any exception.
He says most fish producers across the world have suffered declines in their production because of climate change.
Many countries have resorted to fish farming to address the gap in fish production, the official points out, adding that the kingdom has recently established three farms in addition to 12 shrimp farms that produce a total of 20,000 tonnes.
For instance, parrotfish was sold at SAR60 a kilo but now is sold at SAR100, while the price of greasy grouper fish increased from SAR45 a kilo to SAR65 a kilo.
Fishermen explain that higher water temperatures force fish to diver deeper in search of cooler waters, making it difficult for fishermen to catch them.
(SAR1 = AED0.98, at the time of publishing)