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Part2Series1 (2003)


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    Updated 02-2017

    The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia has a population of 29 million in 2013, including more than 5.5 million non-nationals, and a land territory of 2 149 690 km2. It borders the Gulf (Arabia/Persian) on the east and the Red Sea on the west, and has coastlines of 2 640 km. The capture fisheries and aquaculture sectors contribute to the food security of the Saudi population, although fish consumption is at about 13.5 kg/person/year (2013).

    Capture fishery production of the Kingdom has been average of 68 000 tonnes during the last two years. Shrimps, mackerels, emperor fish and swimming crab are the main species caught. Artisanal fishing vessels form the large majority of the Saudi fishing fleet of close to 11 200 in 2010, with mainly small boats operating in shallow coastal waters. The number of fishers was around 29 000 in 2010, of which 68 percent was foreign fishing workers.

    Aquaculture production increased steadily from 6 000 tonnes in 2000 to around 26 000 tonnes in 2009 and 2010, followed by a drop in production to less than 16 000 tonnes in 2011 due to the viral white spot disease outbreak in marine shrimp, the most farmed species in the country. After a recovery to 21 000 tonnes in 2012, the total production further recovered to 30 000 tonnes in 2015, 26%up from 2014. The production recovering follows the switching of the target species from P. indicus (native species) to the more resistant non-endemic P. vannamei and the implementation of biosecurity guidelines at farm level and surveillance programme at national level. Marine cage culture is a relatively new development with several large farms established along the coast of the Red Sea, farming mainly the exotic gilthead seabream and the Asian seabass (Dicentrachus labrax). The interest in finfish cage farming using other species, including grouper and amberjack, is increasing.

    Imports and exports of fish and fishery products by Saudi Arabia showed an increasing trend in recent years. In 2015, imports were valued at USD 633.1 million, while exports were valued at USD 100 million. Saudi Arabia is an approved exporting country to the European Union (EU). Farmed shrimp products are exported to the EU, Japan and the United States of America.
    Gen Geo Econ Report

    Table 1 - General Geographic and Economic Data – Kingdom of Saudi Arabia

    Shelf area 103 547 km2

    Sea Around Us


    Length of continental coastline 2 640 km

    World by Map:


    Fisheries GVA Not Available -

    Country Stats-Key Statistics

    Country Stats-labelCountry Stats-valueCountry Stats-source
    Country area2 149 690km2Country Stats Sys-area. Official data, 2013
    Land area2 149 690km2Country Stats Sys-area. Official data, 2013
    Country Stats Label-inlandarea-km2Country Stats Sys-calculated. Calculated, 2013
    Population - Est. & Proj.32.358millionsCountry Stats Sys-pop. Official data, 2018
    Eez Flagstate Area224 780km2Vliz Name
    GDP (current US$)646 438MillionsWorld Bank. 2016
    GDP per capita (current US$)20 029US$World Bank. 2016
    Agriculture, value added2.68% of GDPWorld Bank. 2016
    StatisticsTable 2 in this section is based on statistics prepared by the Statistics and Information Branch of the Fisheries and Aquaculture Department and disseminated in 2016. The charts are based on the same source but these are automatically updated every year with the most recent disseminated statistics.

    Table 2 – Fisheries statistics – Kingdom of Saudi Arabia

          1980 1990 2000 2010 2012 2013 2014
    EMPLOYMENT (thousands) 5.44 10.61 25.36 28.98
      Aquaculture 3.27
      Capture 5.44 10.61 22.09 28.98
        Marine 5.44 10.61 22.09 28.98
    FLEET(thousands vessels) 9.62 11.20
    Source: FAO Fishery and Aquaculture Statistics
    1) Due to roundings total may not sum up

    Please note: Fishery statistical data here presented exclude the production for marine mammals, crocodiles, corals, sponges, pearls, mother-of-pearl and aquatic plants.


    Last Updated 2003Part2Series1


    Full text of the Fisheries and Aquaculture Country Profile available at /fishery/docs/DOCUMENT/fcp/en/FI_CP_SA.pdf


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