The Ministry of Environment, Water and Agriculture has launched on Sunday, at Jeddah Fisheries Research Center (JFRC), the Twinning Project between the University of Arizona's Aquaculture Pathology Laboratory and the Fish Health and Safety Laboratory in Jeddah, with the participation of the Director of the Aquaculture Pathology Laboratory, Dr. Arun Dhar, and the Principal Investigator of the OIE Laboratory Twinning project, Dr. Luis Fernando.
Deputy Minister of Agriculture Affairs, Eng. Ahmed AlEyadah, said that the project will bring many benefits to the ministry, including that the Fish Health &Safety Laboratory in Jeddah will be the first reference laboratory for shrimp viral diseases in the Middle East, which will serve all diagnostic work in this field and other related fields at national, regional and international levels. Adding that the laboratory will collaborate with relevant laboratories in the Gulf Cooperation Council countries (GCC) to establish a system for early detection of fish pathogens, in general, and for the health and safety of cultured aquatic species, in particular.
AlEyadah pointed out that the Ministry, within the next four days, will hold workshops and training courses for the staff of the "Fish Health and Safety Laboratory" in Jeddah, in collaboration with the World Organization for Animal Health (OIE) and the Aquaculture Pathology Laboratory, to develop the fisheries sector particularly in fields of: risk assessment, biosecurity, development of diagnostic laboratories, and development of technical capabilities.
AlEyadah also stated that the ministry aims to apply quality standards to fish products, especially those imported, due to the lack of transparency of some exporting countries regarding aquatic diseases, stressing that the aquatic animal health status of some exporting country have not been published or updated on the website of the World Organization for Animal Health (OIE) for many years, in addition to the low quality of the fish products imported into the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, according to laboratory analysis conducted at Fish health and Safety Laboratory in Jeddah.
It is worth noting that the University of Arizona's Aquaculture Pathology Laboratory is one of the global reference laboratories for diagnosis of aquatic animal diseases, and there has been previous cooperation in the provision of diagnostic services in the Kingdom since 1990.
On the other hand, Jeddah Fisheries Research Center has participated in recent years in the specialized tests program conducted by the American laboratory, and the Center's researchers have participated in training courses on the diagnosis of aquatic animal diseases and specialized workshops on molecular biology in 2012.