Four Saudi aquaculture firms have merged in a SAR 500 million ($133 million/€120 million) deal, Reuters reported.

The merged entities include the aquaculture division of Jazan Energy and Development Company (Jazadco), Tabuk Fisheries Company, Tharawat Seas and Aquaculture Sharq Farms. The new company, Advanced Aquaculture Company, is expected to have an initial production of 60,000 metric tons. Species farmed include seabass, seabream and shrimp.

The company aims to achieve an output of 300,000 metric tons by 2035.

The Saudi Press Agency said the move was in line with the ministry's goals of developing local aquaculture and more mergers were to be expected in the sector.

In 2017, Saudi Arabia produced just under 50,000 metric tons of aquaculture products, which is double what it produced a decade ago. The government's new and ambitious plan is to reach 600,000 metric tons of production by 2030 to meet local consumption and population growth. The country's seafood consumption is projected to grow 7.4 percent annually until 2030.

To learn more about aquaculture in the Middle East, click here for a special report from IntraFish.