It may be surprising for some people to note that there was other industry in Bahrain before oil was struck. In fact, the pearl industry was huge before oil was found and Bahrain is still world renowned to this day for its natural pearls. You can always be sure, if the pearl originated in Bahrain it is one of the best in the world because of the uniqueness of the pearls found in the waters around that island. History of Pearls
Pearl enthusiasts all agree that the world’s best pearls throughout history have come from the Persian Gulf and most notably around the island of Bahrain. This is probably due to their abundance and ability to form naturally without being cultured. Today, India is probably the host of the largest stock of pearls. But, many of those pearls were originally collected from the waters around Bahrain. Unique Pearls of Bahrain
The pearls collected in the waters of Bahrain are very unique. They tend to have a special lustre which many argue comes from the mixture of salt and fresh water around the island due to fresh water springs on the sea bed. Pearls are also unique in Bahrain largely due to the fact that Bahrain does not allow cultured pearls. Dangers of Pearl Fishing
Pearl fishing is and always has been a very dangerous business. Divers of the 19th century often found themselves falling victim to the many perils of the sea that also created their livelihood. During those days, they did not have the advanced gear divers are accustomed to using today, and instead dived out in the summer months to look for pearls until they ran out of breath. At that point, they were pulled up by a rope to start the process over. They had to be very careful of the reefs, sharks, and jelly fish while diving. Striking Oil
In the 1930s large deposits of oil were discovered around the island of Bahrain. Sadly, this discovery put an abrupt end to the natural pearl industry of the Persian Gulf. While much of the island’s wealth comes from this discovery of oil, many people would still like to have seen the pearl industry continue. Instead, those who had so often dove for pearls to create their income, switched to the oil industry for the promise of prosperity. The pearl market will continue in Bahrain, although it may be small, as some families have passed their knowledge of pearl diving down through the generations and still make a living selling jewellery.
Fishing in BahrainLocated in the Persian Gulf, The Kingdom of Bahrain is an archipelago of 33 islands. The largest island is Bahrain, which translates as “two seas.” Bahrain comprises 83 percent of the country’s total land mass. Marine Environment
The water surrounding Bahrain is shallow. Many land reclamation projects are underway. Coral reefs lie close to the island, many along the eastern and northern sides of the island. Over 300 species can be found in Bahrain’s waters. Some types of tropical fish include angel fish, parrot fish, barracuda, grouper and clown fish. In the spring, sting rays can be seen sunning themselves on the sand banks.
Oil drives Bahrain’s economy, but fishing remains an important industry in Bahrain. Fish is both exported and used for domestic consumption, including shrimp, finfish, crabs, lobster, rabbit fish and cuttlefish. The most important fishery in Bahrain is the shrimp fishery.
Fishing is big sport in Bahrain as can be witnessed by the number of fishermen hanging out lines from the Sitra causeway. However, the best fishing is found out at sea, so most fishermen get out in their boats as often as they can. The shallow waters around the island teem with Spanish Mackerel but hamour is to be found out in the deeper holes in the reef areas. Most of the inner reefs have been fished out now so most fishermen go out 5-10kms and go trawling with rapellas or fish with live bait and sinkers for sharri, barracuda, kingfish and needlefish. Environmental Concerns
Due land reclamation, industrial pollution and over-fishing, Bahrain’s fishing industry is severely threatened. Fish stocks are quickly being depleted and immature fish are being caught before they have a chance to reproduce. Approximately 3 million tons of sand is taken from Bahrain’s waters each year for construction purposes, harming the marine environment. The coral reefs are dying at a rapid rate.
In 2009, the General Directorate for the Protection of Marine Resources (GDPMR) of Kingdom of Bahrain renewed a marine resources pact with the United Arab Emirates with the goal of protecting and conserving marine life.
Oil Resources in BahrainBahrain sports a very hot and dry climate. Topographically more than ninety percent of this country is covered by desert. The agriculture, due to this arid nature of the soil, is not very developed. The economy of Bahrain therefore heavily relies on natural resources like oil and natural gas. Bahrain is not only rich in natural resources. Boasting of almost five thousand years of history, this country is dotted by archaeological sites.
The First Oil Well in Bahrain is among many places that offer exciting options for Sightseeing in Bahrain. Located in the Persian Gulf and bordered by other huge oil reservoirs of the world like the kingdom of Saudi Arabia and Qatar; the kingdom of Bahrain shares the proud distinction that the First Oil Well in Bahrain is also the first oil well in the Persian Gulf. In 1929 the San Francisco-based Standard Oil Company of California (Socal)–now known as Chevron–set up a subsidiary to acquire an oil exploration and production concession on the island of Bahrain.
The First Oil Well in Bahrain started functioning from 16th October in the year 1931 and Socal drilling crews discovered oil in 1932, and two years later the first shipment of crude oil was exported from Sitrah. By 1935, when sixteen oil wells were in production and construction of the Bahrain refinery commenced, the royalties that Socal paid to the government constituted more than 40 percent of the state budget.
In 1936 Socal sold half of its oil interest to Texas Oil Company (Texaco) and, with its new corporate partner, formed theBahrain Petroleum Company (Bapco). In the years up to independence in 1971, Bapco oil revenues annually averaged 60 percent of government income and helped to finance major development, education, and health programs. The government of Bahrain acquired a 60 percent interest in Bapco in 1975 and assumed control of the remaining 40 percent in 1980.
The oil well is situated below the Jebel Dukhan mountain. With an altitude of 134 meters this mound is considered to be the highest point of this island nation. The mountain in Arabic means the Mountain of Smoke. The haze that cascade down the mountain during hot summer days has given this mountain the name. One interesting point to know about Bahrain is that, this country was the first in the Arabian Coast where oil was discovered. The discovery of oil and First Oil Well in Bahrain ironically coincided with the collapse of the world pearl market. This country now produces less gallons of oil compared to its neighbors.