The Arab Organization for Agricultural Development (AOAD) organized, at its regional office for the central region, in Cairo, Egypt, 3-5/12/2012,the 3rd regular Meeting for The Arab senior officials and research and technology transfer experts in the field of fisheries, under the theme: (Research and Technology Transfer in Extensive Aquaculture).
In his inaugural speech at the meeting, Dr. Tariq Al-Zadjali, the Director General of AOAD referred to the previous two other meetings held by the organization, namely the 1st one held in Muscat, Sultanate of Oman from 18-21/12/2011, and the 2nd in Tunisia from 27-29/11/2012. He pointed out that the fish resources represent an important economic resource in the Arab countries that have natural potential represented by 22.7 thousand kilometers of marine coasts, 608 thousand square kilometers of fish- rich continental shelf, around (3) million hectares of water bodies, lakes, rivers, swamps and inland waterways plus 16.6 thousand kilometers of rivers that pass through the Arab lands.
He added that the fisheries sector is considered one of the most important sectors that contribute to food security through the provision of animal protein in many Arab countries that realized high self sufficiency rates from fish products amounting to around 98.2%, plus 900 thousand tons of fish exports valued at US$ 2.45 billion. The sector also contributes to poverty alleviation through provision of job opportunities and livelihoods.
Dr. Al-Zadjali further pointed out that despite the huge fisheries resources of the Arab countries, producing around 4.1 million tons of fish, mostly from the natural fisheries resources with fish farming contributing only 25%, the indicators show that there is deterioration of the Arab marine fisheries. The sector is further suffering from lack of studies on Arab fish stocks and marine life as well as the safe biological limits.