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Region:    Middle East

Operational and environmental audit of a major shrimp farming operation Saudi Arabia

Agriculture Development Fund (KSA) - Project Dates:
April 2012 - May 2012

Description of Project:
Shrimp aquaculture has been undertaken in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia (KSA) for over twenty years and is now maturing into a significant industrial sector in its own right. The recent aquaculture carrying capacity study undertaken under Agricultural Development Fund (ADF) suggests that the current production of around 30,000 tonnes could be expanded to more than 250,000 by 2024 should the current constraints of land allocation and permitting be resolved.

This expansion of shrimp farming on the subkha areas of the Red Sea coast is viewed with suspicion by a number of different groups with interests in the same coastal areas. Some have voiced concern over the rapid expansion of aquaculture in recent years, such as the following issues:

1. Habitat damage through backfilling of reefs and removal of mangroves
2. Pollution to local sea water form shrimp farming effluent
3. Allocation of very large pieces of coastal land that might be used for other purposes
4. Development in areas with an unacceptable flood risk
5. Low levels of local employment
6. Being an export-orientated industry with low levels of contribution to the local economy
In a recent ADF funded workshop on the Fisheries Sector Development Plan (27 – 28 February 2012) it was suggested that an independent evaluation be conducted of a major shrimp farming operation in order to assess whether these concerns were valid.

Services Provided:

The scope of this study is to evaluate the operation of a major Saudi shrimp farm against both international and national benchmarks and acknowledged good practice.

It is suggested that the subject of this study be the largest shrimp farming operation in the KSA, the National Prawn Company (NPC), whose current shrimp farming operations are carried out in Al Lith to the south of Jeddah.

A report will be produced that will quantitatively and qualitatively rank NPC’s operations against a series of benchmarks and conclude with an overall assessment of the company’s performance. The proposed benchmarks are:

1. Environmental performance
2. Levels of Saudisation
3. Implementation of an effective Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) policy
4. Flood mitigation
5. Land utilization efficiency
6. Biosecurity effectiveness
7. Local market support
8. Contribution to the local economy