Aquaculture for all

Oman Determined to Reduce Fish Imports

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OMAN - Oman exported around 126,000 tonnes of fish last year and the government is determined to extend this self-sufficiency to the agriculture and livestock sectors as well, said a senior official.

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"We want to reduce imports (of agriculture and livestock products) from outside Oman and promote our local products," said Hamed Bin Said Al Oufi, undersecretary of fisheries wealth at the Ministry of Agriculture and Fisheries, the Times of Oman reports.

Mr Al Oufi said that Oman is currently exporting more than 50 per cent of its fish catch to other countries, which include the neighbouring Gulf countries, other parts of Asia, Europe and North America.

He said that the ministry plans to help local producers increase their agriculture and livestock production as well through providing them with technical assistance and developing the necessary infrastructure.

Fish farming

The undersecretary of fisheries wealth also noted that the allocated OMR500 million budget will be invested in improving the infrastructure, development of ports and fish markets, expanding the fishing fleet and also subsidies for fish farming.

Oman has a long coastline which is suitable for fish farming so greater focus will be given to aquaculture, Al Oufi said, adding that the increased efforts are reflected in the establishment of Oman Aquaculture Development Company, which will lead this sector.

Duqm fishing port

Asked about the fishery harbour project coming up in Duqm, Mr Al Oufi said that the project is in the tender evaluation stage and will be awarded in the near future.

The port would accommodate not only Omani fleets but also fleets from other countries passing through the Indian Ocean, and more than 60 processing plants and related facilities would be set up in a big industrial area at the back of the fishing port.

"The design for the industrial zone in Duqm has already been awarded, and we will start the design of the zone," he said, adding that the project is expected to complete in 2018 but some facilities will be ready by 2017.

The full-fledged fishery industries complex project would include a research centre, a training centre, an international standards and quality assurance center and modern handling and cold storage facilities.