Abdul Aziz Al-Yahya, director general of marine fisheries at the ministry of agriculture and water, said on Thursday that shrimp harvest during the six-month period has remained steady above the 3,000 metric tons since 1999 when the government banned shrimping by trawling. The shrimp season is usually active in the Arabian Gulf and the Red Sea.
An official at the Qatif Fish Resources Research Centre explained that it is a season when local fishermen go out in full force to designated areas of the Arabian Gulf and the Red Sea to harvest the shrimps, which, by this time of the year, have already matured.
He said that although the volume of shrimp harvest would remain steady during the next six months, domestic demand was still not met.
"Local companies processing shrimps into commercial value, in addition to export demand, compete with local consumers; so the market remains unsatisfied, hence our local fishermen are highly motivated," the official said.
During the six-month shrimp seasons, prices fall but profitability remains. During off-season, per kilo of the big variety could reach more than SR30. During the shrimp season, this could taper down to around SR20. The large volume of production and high demand were still big factors to gain handsome profit for local fishermen.Even with a coastline of 7,572 kilometres, the Kingdom's marine fish and crustacean production was unable to meet local demand. According to the ministry of agriculture and water, annual marine fish production amounts to over 49,000 metric tons, while crustacean harvest, including over 3,000 metric tons of shrimps, is about 8,999 metric tons. These production figures exclude production from aquaculture.
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