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Jeddah - Yasmine El Tohamy - RIYADH: The third Saudi International Marine Exhibition began on Sunday at the Riyadh International Convention and Exhibition Center, highlighting international expertise and the latest technologies in aquaculture, fisheries and seafood industries.
The three-day event was inaugurated by Abdulrahman Al-Fadhli, minister of environment, water and agriculture, and chairman of the board of directors of the National Livestock and Fisheries Development Program.
Al-Fadhli emphasized the government’s commitment to the aquaculture sector, announcing direct government spending of about SR1 billion ($266 million). This investment is aimed at enhancing infrastructure, research and localization to underscore the sector’s pivotal role in achieving food security, supporting the local economy and increasing exports in alignment with the goals of Vision 2030.
The event features the participation of 35 countries represented by more than 120 international and local companies, with the attendance of 3,000 local and international businessmen.
Al-Fadhli highlighted the Kingdom’s efforts to address challenges through thoughtful solutions, improved practices, sector incentives, streamlined procedures, land provision, necessary regulatory frameworks, and oversight.
He stressed the necessity of developing aquaculture to achieve food security due to increasing population growth and the adverse effects of marine environmental practices on fish stocks.
The exhibition serves as a showcase for investment opportunities in the sector and offers an opportunity for business professionals to engage with decision-makers in the Kingdom about the fishery industry.
Ben Gepp, an architect based in Australia who has been working with NEOM for the past few years to develop concepts for secular economies and net zero waste aquaculture, said: “We are now developing virtuality of simulations to give people a greater understanding of how they will soon be integrated into the national environment, and how they can actually enhance the national environment to reach zero discharges into the Red Sea.”
Asaad Mohamed, aquaculture program director at King Abdullah University for Science and Technology, spoke to Arab News about the program and anticipated outcomes that the university aims to achieve.
“In alignment with the directives of the Ministry of Environment, Water and Agriculture to realize the ambitious vision for the year 2030, aiming to produce 530,000 tons of marine fish, a project has been initiated to enhance fish farming in Saudi Arabia,” he said.
“Accordingly, we are currently working on developing new species in the fish sector in the Kingdom, studying them and presenting them to the industry to increase the diversity of fish in the local market.”
The fisheries sector is one of the fastest growing areas in the world, with a growth rate of up to 6 percent, and it is an economic tributary to support national domestic products, provide job opportunities and develop rural communities in light of the goals of the Kingdom’s Vision 2030, the Saudi Press Agency reported.
During the exhibition, more than 20 technical workshops will be organized, featuring the participation of international speakers, companies and universities.
The event will also feature the signing of memoranda of understanding between the National Livestock and Fisheries Development Program and local as well as international parties.
For the first time during the exhibition, chefs will compete for the best dish in the “Chef of the Seas” competition. It will be supervised by renowned international chefs and judges.
The exhibition will host a masterclass, “Master Class — Culinary Experience with the Chef,” with the participation of more than 120 cooking enthusiasts, showcasing seafood dishes using traditional and specific cooking methods. The program also includes a business networking segment.
An exhibition featuring farmed fish products will be organized as part of the event.
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