Aquaculture for all

New Plan for Sustainable Cage Aquaculture in Oman

Environment Breeding & genetics Technology & equipment +3 more

OMAN - The Regional Commission for Fisheries (RECOFI) Regional Technical Workshop onSustainable Marine Cage Aquaculture Development, held inMuscat, Sultanate of Oman, resulted in the release of a new plan for the sustainable development of marine cage aquaculture.

The activity was endorsed in view of the growing importance and interest of this aquaculture sub-sector across the region. The workshop focus was on environmental impact assessment and monitoring, and aquaculture licensing for marine aquaculture cage systems.

It also aimed at identifying constraints and shortcomings that needed to be dealt with to support the development of the cage industry and facilitate investments from the private sector. A following report, released by the Food and Drug Administration, contains a set of suggestions and recommendations made by the experts with regard to technical and policy requirements needed to support the growth of the aquaculture sector as a whole and more specifically cage fish farming.

RECOFI members have been encouraging cage aquaculture over the years, however, the current level of development varies considerably among the countries and, in general, cage aquaculture can only be considered an economic activity in its infant stages of development.

The major constraints identified in the establishment of fish cages, particularly along the northwestern shores of the Gulf, have been the limited availability of suitable farming sites characterized by shallow waters, highly fluctuating salinity and temperature levels and inadequate sea currents.

Other limitations included price competition from wild-caught fish, inadequate farming technologies for the region and the limited availability of endemic candidate species of commercial importance suitable for cage aquaculture.

The report also contains three review documents on marine cage aquaculture in the region, regulation of Norwegian net-cage fish farming, and a review on cage aquaculture licensing procedures prepared as background discussion papers for the workshop.

With specific regard to environmental impact assessment (EIA), the discussions held at the workshop clearly indicate that there is a need for the region and individual Commission members to develop an ad hoc EIA format based on the conditions of the local marine environment as this would determine the level of detail and elements needed to complete a meaningful and useful EIA study.

The experts also agreed on the importance to establish regional Environmental Quality Standards (EQS) for fish farm sites in order to set the limits for maximum permissible impact on the area exploited by the cage farming industry and assist in establishing monitoring programmes.

Further Reading

- You can view the Regional technical workshop on sustainable marine cage aquaculture development report by clicking here.
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