The Bahraini Fisheries and aquaculture market is projected to grow at a CAGR of 4.3% during the forecast period (2020-2025). The Bahraini Fisheries and aquaculture sector is a niche market and the government represented by the Directorate of Fisheries, has established the National Mariculture Centre (NMC), to undertake applied research in the field. The NMC is the source of marine finfish seed for all Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) countries and other member countries of the Regional Commission for Fisheries (RECOFI). The country can likewise earn foreign exchange through the export of aquatic products. In the long-run, investment in the development of an aquaculture sector is expected to contribute to the food security and self-sufficiency of Bahrain.
Key Market Trends
Increased Fisheries Production
According to FAO, the Kingdom of Bahrain has a coastline of 950 km, a continental shelf of approximately 10 000 km2, and a land territory of around 760 km2. It has a vast population which includes a significant number of non-nationals. The marine environment is the most preferred location for aquaculture production in Bahrain. The production through aquaculture is expected to increase in the coming years, due to the increasing demand for seafood. According to the Central Informatics Organization (CIO), fishery production in 2016 accounted for 971.379 MT and has seen a growth in accounting for 9875.089 MT in 2018. There are two major fish markets in Bahrain: Manama Central Market, and Jidhafs Market. According to studies, Manama Central Market accounted for 64.7% of the total landings, while Jidhafs Market accounted for 12.6% of total landings. Currently, the produce harvested from NMC is marketed locally. Significant numbers of Sobaity bream, gilthead bream, and grouper juveniles have been exported to all the countries in the region. Due to the scarcity of freshwater resources in Bahrain, all efforts have been diverted towards marine species, and there are minimal land-based cultural activities carried out in tanks.
Fisheries Import is Leading the Market in Terms of Value
The value of fish and fishery imports was USD 46.7 million, with exports valued at USD 38.9 million in 2018, as per the Food and Agriculture Organization. The average per capita annual consumption of fish in 2016 was at 11.6 kg. The shrimp fishery is traditionally the most important fishery in Bahrain. Although total catches have shown a general increasing trend in the species composition of landings has changed significantly with declines in catches of some originally targeted species (e.g. groupers) being compensated by increases in the catch of crustaceans (shrimps and crabs) and of other finfish. According to the International Trade Centre (ITC) in 2019, Norway, Saudi Arabia, India, and Pakistan are the major exporters of fisheries in the Bahrain market. Norway alone accounts for the highest share of the export consistently over the years followed by India and Saudi Arabia. This has shown a significant potential for fisheries and aquaculture export to Bahrain.
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