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Government Lifts Ban On Abalone Fishing

by the Fish Site Editor
26 September 2011, at 1:00am

OMAN - A ministerial decision has been issued to re-open the abalone fishing season from 20 October to 15 November, along the inshore waters of the Dhofar coast.

Dr Ahmed Al Mazrouai, director of fisheries development, Ministry of Agriculture and Fisheries Wealth, said the ban, which has been in place for three years, has given the abalones a chance to recover, the TimesOfOman reports.

According to the study of assessment of the stock of the Omani abalone, and advice of the Fishery Management System issued in May 2011, it was found that the closure and compensation of the divers was fruitful, Dr Ahmed said.

The abalone stocks were seen to increase in both numbers and size.

The Ministry has already undertaken research work on the cultivation of abalone using Japanese technology and technical cooperation. The Ministry of Agriculture and Fisheries Wealth is working on a system for aquaculture investments and practices."

"Hopefully, by the end of this year, the ministry will have the rules and regulations ready and will be able to start licensing aquaculture in general and abalone aquaculture specifically.

The Dhofar coast turns into a veritable treasure during November and December, yielding rich harvest of abalones, locally called sufailah. Omani abalones are considered to be as one of the best in the Asian market, particularly Hong Kong market and there is a huge demand for it.

A study commissioned by the ministry led to the origional ban, after it was found that unsustainable fishing practices and other environmental factors were contributing to a sharp deterioration in the habitat that supports the shellfish.

Despite the ban now being lifted, fishing of abalone will be regulated and will only be permitted during November and December, when the mollusk is thought to be fully grown.

the Fish Site Editor