DOHA: An advanced Aquaculture Research Centre being set up in Ras Matbakh is expected to be ready by the beginning of 2016.
The Ministry of Environment (MoE) and Qatar University (QU) on Thursday signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) for developing the centre and updating its labs to meet the requirements of both the bodies.
The MoU was signed by the Minister of Environment
H E Ahmed Amer Mohamed Al Humaidi and QU President Professor Sheikha Abdulla Al Misnad at the Ministry’s headquarters.
The centre is located north of Al Khor on the coast of Qatar, spread over an area of 110,000 square metres. Work on the project started in March last year and is expected to be completed in 18 months, to be ready by the beginning of 2016, said a statement issued by QU yesterday.
The operation and administration of the project is supervised jointly by the Ministry of Environment, represented by the Fisheries Department for the special fish hatcheries, and Qatar University for the laboratories and research labs.
The centre specialises in environment and marine research and fish hatcheries. It will be equipped with the latest scientific labs for studying the marine environment.
The hatcheries are designed and equipped with the best of hatcheries and latest technologies in order to make the center a pioneer in this sector in the region.
The centre will be a major contributor in the development of the fish hatcheries sector in Qatar through special field experiments and choosing the most suitable aquatic species with economic benefits. It will also participate in the process of guidance and orientation of investors in the private sector in fish hatcheries.
Speaking on the occasion, the Minister of Environment Ahmed bin Amer said that the Aquatic Research Centre in Ras Matbakh was a major project in the national strategic program for the development of the fisheries sector, aquaculture and research of the marine environment.
Professor Al Misnad said that QU has always taken the lead in efforts to meet the requirements for marine studies with the acquisition of the sophisticated research vessel, Janan and other powerful survey assets like speed boats and advanced analytical facilities. She added that QU’s marine science programme has produced many graduates whose contribution to Qatar’s marine conservation efforts will be invaluable.
Sheikh Dr Faleh bin Nasser Al Thani, Assistant Under-secretary of Agricultural Affairs and Fish Resources, said that the centre would offer students opportunity to undertake their studies and research in the field of marine biology under the supervision of a team of specialists from the Ministry of Environment and Qatar University.
He added that aquaculture activities in the centre would enhance the development of fish reserves and increase local fish production; accurate scientific studies and research regarding the techniques and methods for selecting the best species of local fish that have economic value and increase their production to meet the needs of the local market and for export.
QU Vice-President for Research Dr Hassan Al Derham said the agreement would be essential in documenting Qatar’s ecosystem for the benefit of future generations and advancing sustainable development of the country’s marine resources, protecting them from pollution and from being misused.
QU Vice-President and Chief Financial Officer Dr Humaid Abdulla Al Midfaa, ESC Applied Research Manager Dr Ebrahim Al Ansari and Internal Affairs Manager Dr Ibrahim Al Maslamani were also present at the signing ceremony, among other officials.
Based on the agreement, a committee comprising members from MOE and QU will collaborate with the Public Works Authority (Ashghal) to oversee the development and construction of the centre.
In the terms of the agreement, QU will appoint the centre manager while the Ministry will use QU’s facilities to conduct studies and research on the biology of the environment, including the research vessel Janan for research on the fish population in Qatari waters and other aquatic issues.