Given the significant role played by the Fish Resources Research Center in Jeddah in terms of its contribution to the development of the aquaculture sector in Saudi Arabia; and as being one of the objectives for which the center was established, which relies on research development on economic types of fish, the Center has succeeded in developing one of the most prominent strains of tilapia fish that it can live and adapt in the fully saline waters of the Red Sea.
During the past couple of years 2019 and 2020, the Center was able to intensify research and studies pertinent to the spawning and production of Marine Tilapia Oreochromis spilurus – one of the rare species of tilapia that the Center was able to develop during a process lasted nearly forty (40) years. It is noteworthy that this family is considered one of the very few species in the world that can live and adapt in the high salinity seawater environment.
The Saudi National Strategy to step up production of aquaculture products to more than 600 thousand tons by 2030 has identified a number of species of cultured marine organisms of economic and market value, including tilapia fish, as the Center worked to produce them in collaboration with a number of agencies all working within the framework of the programs and initiatives for developing the sector, launched by Ministry of Environment, Water and Agriculture, represented by the National Program for the Development of the Fisheries Sector. Among those working in this aspect is King Abdullah University for Science and Technology (KAUST) which is concerned with studying a number of economic types of fish, including tilapia.
Saudi Aquaculture Society also runs a special program to study the genome at the Center. The marine tilapia is considered one of the species included in the study. Thanks to these efforts led by the National Center for Fish Resources in collaboration with its partners, it was able to increase the volume of production from the number of breed fish of these fish to unprecedented numbers that exceeded One million fingerlings per year. A number of projects and floating fish farms were provided with it – a matter that has contributed to a leap in the volume of marine tilapia production during 2020 for the first time in its history.