MUNICIPALITIES Affairs and Urban Planning Minister Dr Juma Al Ka'abi vowed to go ahead with the ministry's scheme to raise fish stocks through the Artificial Reefs Project.
Inaugurating the project near Fasht Al Jarim, he said the General Directorate of Fisheries and Marine Resources is laying down artificial reefs in many areas to increase the fish stocks. The move, he added, is in line with the directives of the government led by His Royal Highness Prime Minister Prince Khalifa bin Salman Al Khalifa.
The artificial reefs, he pointed out, are part of a strategy to upgrade the fishing sector, thanks to the support of His Majesty King Hamad's Personal Representative and Public Commission for the Protection of Marine Resources, Environment and Wildlife president Shaikh Abdulla bin Hamad Al Khalifa.
Dr Al Ka'abi revealed that the pioneering project aims to revive the country's declining fishing industry.
The Fisheries and Marine Resources Directorate is spearheading the four-year project.
Its director Jassim Al Qaseer said artificial reefs would be deposited near natural reefs, where there was a good current and the seabed was not more than 15 metres to 20m deep.
The concrete structures will be spread across three main areas of the sea to the north east, south and west of the country.
Mr Al Qaseer said the main idea behind the project was to build houses for marine life and fish where they could hide and look for food. "We are creating a home for fish and the marine environment." He said Bahrain's reefs, the marine environment and fish population had suffered due to a combination of dredging and reclamation, overfishing, the use of harmful fishing gear and natural causes.
"It will take years before the artificial reefs become settled, but fish will come in this area and where there are small fish there will be big fish and this is a way of rehabilitating fish stocks."