Kuwait has successfully grown 6,000 bowlfish eggs in the world's first bowlfish farm experiment, researches said Tuesday.
Researchers at the Kuwait Institute for Scientific Research (KISR) expect the bowlfish to be ready for market consumption by the end of the year. Institute director, Dr. Sulieman Mattar said similar experiments in Japan failed and Kuwait is the only country in the world to successfully grow bowlfish in farms. Matter said the institute would spend the next two years developing the farms so that female bowlfish would lay their eggs directly in the farms.
For now, researchers fish for female and male bowls and extract eggs and semen for fertilization that is usually done aboard the fishing boats. The fertilization process must be done within 20 hours of the extraction and in a temperature of 28 degrees. The fertilized egg is then placed in the farms. By 2003, Mattar said the institute would produce large quantities of bowl fish for market and trade purposes.
The experiment was launched at the request of food experts who asked government and scientific departments to create fish farms to fulfill part of the country's food supply and suggested the project could contribute to the economic yields.
Local fishermen who said their total catches do not satisfy the market demand welcomed the project. Khalid Al-Anzi, Vice President of the Kuwaiti Fisherman's Union said the fish farms would complement the supply provided by fishermen and help to prevent the extinction of some fish and preserve the fishery balance in the country's waters.
Annually Kuwait catches over 8,000 tons of fish (including 2,200 tons of shrimp) and also consumes 88,000 tons of fish raised under artificial conditions on fish farms. Large-scale commercial fishing is mostly confined to the United Fisheries Company. Kuwait has long been conscious of preserving its second natural resource. The Mariculture and Fisheries Department at the Kuwait Institute for Scientific Research (KISR) has one of the most comprehensive programs in the Middle East for the artificial breeding of fish, specifically zubaidy and hamour.
In May 1997, KISR embarked on a five year experiment that would require transporting fertilized eggs from the sea to be hatched and raised among KISR’s facilities and eventually released back into the sea.
© 2000 Mena Report (www.menareport.com )