*Centre part of govt efforts to ensure food security by producing quality fish
HE the Prime Minister and Minister of Interior Sheikh Abdullah bin Nasser bin Khalifa al-Thani Saturday opened the aquatic research centre of the Ministry of Municipality and Environment (MME) at Ras Matbakh in Al Khor and Al Thakira Municipality.
The centre, part of Qatar National Development Strategy, is aimed at helping the country attain self-sufficiency in high quality fish and shrimp production and achieve the highest rates of production that will ensure food security.
HE the Minister of Municipality and Environment Abdullah bin Abdulaziz bin Turki al-Subaie told Gulf Times that the centre is a basic pillar for developing marine wealth in the country.
The minister noted that the centre, equipped with the best global practices and available technology, guarantees to achieve economic feasibility that ensures the continuation of production and development reflecting in economic growth in the fisheries sector.
The centre has state-of-the-art laboratories and research facilities that will be managed with the participation of Qatar University. The minister pointed out that the centre will host fish farming projects, marine wealth enrichment and fish feeds.
HE the Prime Minister, who along with other ministers toured the departments and units, was briefed on the facilities and functions of the centre.
Extending over an area of ??110,000sq m, the centre includes physical and chemical laboratories to measure the proportion of minerals, water pollution, marine environment soil and biology pollution, and marine water hydrology. Labs will also test fish physiology and conduct fish age estimation. One of the labs studies fish parasites and bacteria and analyses the components of fish feed and others.
The centre has ponds for fish production where seeds of local fishes are produced from mother fish. It also has water dispensing and treatment unit that includes filters of different types and sizes through which water is pumped. Water in the ponds is cooled and heated as per the requirements in order to ensure an ideal environment for fish. A total of 28 administrative offices, two meeting rooms, a lecture hall, a theatre equipped with the latest technology, library, prayer room and cafeteria are located in the facility.
Sheikh Dr Faleh bin Nasser al-Thani, assistant undersecretary for agriculture and fisheries affairs at MME, said the centre will achieve various goals. “Fish breeding season begins in February and continues throughout March and April providing large quantities of small fish that are grown in eight ponds,” he said while explaining the operation of the centre. He added that the centre will provide farm owners with various services and training.
Dr Ibrahim Abdullatif al-Muslimani, an official of the department, said the centre also deals with fish diseases and implement measures to preserve the varieties that are on the brink of extinction.
Mohamed Mahmoud al-Abdullah, director of the centre, said the new facility will lead to an increase in fish production. “During this year, 1.5mn baby fish (larvae) will be produced,” he said.
Dr Hassan Rashid al-Derham, President of Qatar University, said the university has supported the centre from its inception and holds a partnership with the ministry in research, development and production and added that the university is looking to further enhance co-operation.
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