The Ministry of Environment, Water and Agriculture (MEWA) has approved a project contract worth about SAR 10 million that was awarded to the Saudi Aquaculture Society to monitor and improve genetic resources (GRs) of aquatic organisms.
On this occasion, MEWA Undersecretary Eng. Ahmed Al Ayyadah described the project 'promising', adding it reflects the ministry's intention to preserve fishery resources and to maintain genetic diversity through effective management of genetic images and banks as well as the genetic improvement and quality control programs. Also, it covers measures adopted to protect genetic origins and variability, he said, adding this would be helpful in retaining sustainability of highly productive breeds. He said these healthy species would have positive impacts on the fishery production and diversity.
The project, Al Ayyadah says, is expected to help finding the best practices for maintaining genetic structure of endemic fish or other marine organism strains which can be found in Saudi Arabia. Also, it provides an opportunity to study best breeds for mariculture or gene banking for later re-distribution all over the kingdom.
He added the project's results may also be used in spreading mariculture processes by making available mature fishes with pure genetic traits. Al Ayyadah noted that the aquaculture industry is still, in many cases, depending on natural pisciculture of mature fishes and fish seeds.
He added the results of studies made on genetic origins, fish breeds and marine species may be used in developing a program to preserve original gene images as a better way for maximizing benefits of food elements and feed conversion to get genetically improved aquatic organisms. Therefore, fish would show higher rates of growth, improved immunity and resistance to diseases in addition to the improved genetic traits that meet consumers' demands, he added.