Aquaculture continues to grow in economic importance. The main reason for this is the quantifiable contribution aquaculture is making in many countries to fill the growing gap between supply and demand for fisheries products. This gap continues to widen because of increasing human populations and the static growth rates of capture fisheries brought about by declines in stocks and the increasing cost of obtaining fish through conventional methods. Although this gap can (and in some cases is already) being met by alternatives, such as inexpensive poultry and white meats, aquaculture particularly provides consumers with a choice of fresh products.
Aquaculture is also evident in earning foreign exchange for many countries through the export of high-value products. It also creates employment, particularly in economically depressed coastal and remote regions, and contributes to the household economy of rural farmers.
The regional survey prepared by the Aquaculture Development and Coordination Programme (ADCP) covers the existing aquaculture sector in a group of eleven Middle East countries, namely Bahrain, Iraq, the Islamic Republic of Iran, Jordan, Kuwait, Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, the Yemen Arab Republic, and the People's Democratic Republic of Yemen. Each country has been selected as part of the survey because (i) it is active in the aquaculture sector, and (ii) it shares common aquaculture systems and practices with other countries in the group because of geography and environment.
Other Member Nations of the Near East Region of the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO), namely Afghanistan, Algeria, Cyprus, Djibouti, Egypt, Lebanon, Libya, Mauritania, Morocco, Pakistan, Somalia, Sudan, Syria, Tunisia, and Turkey, either have no aquaculture activities at the present time, or they are linked better for aquaculture purposes to other regions and included in other surveys. For example, Algeria, Cyprus, Egypt, Lebanon, Libya, Morocco, Syria, Turkey and Tunisia are included in the survey for the Mediterranean region. Pakistan is included in the West Asia survey, and Djibouti, Mauritania, Somalia, and Sudan in the Africa survey.
This present survey is not exhaustive. It has been prepared by Patrick G. White in a relatively brief desk study. For many countries detailed information is still difficult to obtain. The ADCP apologizes for any omissions and errors which may exist in the survey, and hopes that these can be corrected in an up-dated survey. New information and notification of changes and errors should be indicated to the ADCP in the Fisheries Department, FAO, Rome. The detailed Table of Contents illustrates the range of information which, hopefully, will be assembled in due course for all regions.
The survey is directed toward administrators, executives, and managers who require broad overviews, rather than for scientists and technologists who require detailed information about species and practices. It is the first of a series of regional surveys. To this end, the ADCP hopes that the reader will find the information described here useful.
Colin E. Nash
Craig B. Kensler