Losses in commercial fishing have led to the industry importing fish. The domestic fishing industry does not cover more than 40 per cent of local demand, which witnessed an increase during the summer, reports ArabNews.
“Fish production in the Red Sea has decreased during the past 20 years because of environmental pollution,” said Khalid Al-Shweiki, director-general of the Fishermen's Cooperative Society, speaking to the newspaper.
"Government authorities are preventing the disposal of sewage water into the sea. These efforts contributed to stabilising production percentages over the past five years, but these quantities can’t meet the increasing demand," he added.
“Despite the efforts of the Ministry of Agriculture and its partnership with social security experts in establishing fishing ports at various locations on the Red Sea shore, only a few Saudis continue to work in the fishing profession as compared to their forefathers,” he said, adding fishing doesn’t provide enough income to meet their daily expenses.
Pollution in the Red Sea has reached epic proportions. Coral reefs spanning thousands of kilometers along the coastline in the region are under threat of extinction. It has recently come under severe pressure due to illegal fishing, the depositing of untreated sewage, the shipping of waste including toxic substances and increased shipping activities carrying chemicals and crude oil.