The fisheries and aquaculture sector in Qatar was valued at USD 148,216.6 thousand in 2020 and is projected to reach USD 198,318.7 thousand by 2026, registering a CAGR of 5.0% during the forecast period.
In addition to the severe implications on people's health and the healthcare services, coronavirus (COVID-19) has had a significant impact on sales of various businesses, including fisheries and aquaculture, in 2020. After the first case of COVID-19 was reported in Qatar, the government responded quickly to enforce various preventive measures such as social distancing and closing of public places. These measures significantly impacted the Fisheries and Aquaculture sector in Qatar due to disruption in both the market forces of demand and supply.
With the increase in health consciousness in the country, people are shifting toward rich sources of proteins. Therefore, the demand for seafood is increasing gradually. This has led to an increase in the consumption of fish, which are highly nutritious and have impressive health benefits. The Qatari government is pushing for the diversification of its economy and is actively promoting investors and foreign companies in to establish an enhanced sector for fisheries and aquaculture in the country. This has opened new opportunities for investors to finance RAS-based systems on farms, cage fish farming etc. For instance, in 2019, the Qatari government revealed a plan to build a shrimp farm with a contract with the Texas-based Global Blue Technologies. These factors may drive the growth of the fisheries and aquaculture sector in upcoming years.
Key Market Trends
Increase in Seafood Demand due to Rising Population
Qatar’s growing population, thriving economy, and profile as one of the popular tourist destinations has increased the demand for quality food products. The population of the country has also risen gradually. According to the World Bank, the population in the country was 2.65 million in 2016. This rose to 2.83 million by 2019, placing a critical need on the sustainable and efficient management of the marine resources and fish stock. The population growth rate and the consumption rate are likely to be the major factors is driving the fisheries and aquaculture sector in the country.
The rise in affluence is likely to increase the consumption of seafood in the country. Most of the country’s private wealth is controlled by affluent individuals, and thus, it is anticipated to exhibit the highest increase in demand. Additionally, the growing concerns about obesity and diabetes in the country and the presence of various expatriates have also resulted in rising demand for healthy foods and opportunities for healthy and light value-added seafood products is anticipated to increase. Therefore, the demandfor seafood products is anticipated to rise significantly due to the rising population and awareness regarding the healthy food which is also anticipated to positively impact the market growth in the country.
Demersal Fish Is Driving The Market
According to the Food and Agricultural Organization, the seafood consumption in Qatar has increased to 24.5kg per year. A large section of consumers prefer wild caught due to the perception that it is more natural, fresher, tastier, and healthier. Demand for seafood is increasing, primarily owing to a shift toward protein-rich diets and increased demand for Demersal fish species, such as groupers. According to ITC Trade Map, Qatar imported 287,158 metric tons of grouper fishes from countries like India, Oman, United Arab Emirates, Pakistan, and Egypt, with a majority of the share being contributed by India, accounting for around 65.8%, in 2016.
Among the Other Demersal fish species, emperor fish comes in various shades, such as Grey, Silver, Yellow, Classic, and is a common item on the menu in most luxury hotels in the country. The fish has important commercial as well as nutritional value for residents of the country. L. nebulosus not only has excellent taste and meat quality, but is also rich in good proteins and omega 3 fatty acid content. Increasing awareness about the health benefits of consuming fish, especially in development of children's brains, has boosted the consumption of emperor fish in the country.
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