Saudi Arabia, a country with the largest population in GCC at 30.77 million, is the largest country claiming the longest stretch of coast lines amongst all others in the GCC, has recognized fisheries and aquaculture as a priority sector for diversification. The market for fisheries and aquaculture in Saudi Arabia was worth US$ XX million as of 2015, and is expected to grow at CAGR X% per annum over 2016-2022.
An increase in population, affluence, preference for protein rich food, impetus by the government to increase self-sufficiency in terms of food, and the country have 2,400 km long coastline of 7,572 km of total coastline conductive for aquaculture, a rich resource of finfish and shellfish have spurred the growth of fisheries and aquaculture in the country. While Saudi Arabia has the lowest consumption per capita per annum local supply is still insufficient to meet the demand, with about 91% of domestically consumed fish is imported. This demand is only increasing at the rate of X% per annum. An increasingly large proportion of western expats, and increasing influence of western diets is augmenting the demand for fish and processed fish. With such large potential resources for aquaculture, and demand far outstripping supply, fisheries in Saudi Arabia is at the start of a period of high growth.
Saudi Arabia is the second largest producer of fish in the GCC, with a total output of 97,348 tonnes as of 2013. Of these, 25,402 tonnes were developed through the aquaculture, a practice started three decades ago, and another 71,946 through traditional, largely artisanal capture fishing. Fisheries have been recognized as the second most important resource for Saudi Arabia after oil, and vital for economic diversification.
Companies for fish processing services and fish rearing management can conduct business in Saudi Arabia, under the precipice of the Foreign Investment Law through SAGIA (Saudi Arabia General Investment Authority). The government provides active support in R&D, technology transfer, marketing support and manpower training. Furthermore, the country provides fingerlings of native species, establishing aquaculture frameworks, relaxing institutional and investment barriers, and charting suitable sites for development.
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