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Sultanate of Oman Maps Out Aquaculture Venture

OMAN - The Sultanate of Oman has recently implemented a coastal mapping project in order to identify suitable sites for aquaculture development.

A multi-phase approach has been employed in order to evaluate aquaculture potential and to develop thematic maps. The following briefly summarises the results to date.

Phase 1: Global assessment of the Sultanate of Oman's coastline

This component, which has only recently been completed, examined previous experience with aquaculture in the Sultanate and identified the most suitable production methods for the country, taking into account its ecological and climatic conditions. Satellite images of the entire coast of Oman have been acquired with 20 meter accuracy. Image interpretation identified a large number of suitable sites for aquaculture while also highlighting incompatible areas. Following image analysis, field visits were undertaken to appropriate sites in order to undertake on-site observations.

Phase 2: Site surveys

Standard methods were applied to examine the preliminary suitability of identified sites. For each site, a detailed description will prepared including accurate cartography, field sampling and definition of possible aquaculture techniques and species to be implemented on site. The potential for aquaculture development for each site was also defined at this phase.

Phase 3: Development scheme for aquaculture development

This phase will employ a socio-economic approach to assess the potential for national aquaculture development including zootechnical priorities, needs for investment and logistics, general organization and regulations, suitable marketing strategies, product quality and sanitary control etc. This stage therefore, will finalize a true master plan for aquaculture with a clear and complete mapping of the country's coastline.

Coastline assessment

A preliminary coastline assessment based on a pre-identification of adapted aquaculture techniques and using satellite imagery and aerial observations has been completed. Areas unsuited to aquaculture development have been eliminated and a provisional atlas developed. The construction of the atlas to date has incorporated:

  • Satellite data acquisition
  • Aquaculture typology work, including pre-selection of appropriate species for farming and methods for cultivation at specific sites
  • Preliminary map typology work including integration of the main elements of land occupation and marine habitats which were field truthed.
  • General identification of suitable sites for aquaculture.

Aquaculture typology work

A complete description of the aquaculture situation in Sultanate will ultimately be constructed incorporating suggestions for production capacity by species and system requirements. An inventory of the existing marine farms has been achieved including:

  • GPS locations
  • Production structures: quantity and volume of the cages, creation date
  • Site type: depth, current, water quality, sea bed, distance from the shore
  • Focused species: annual production and future capacity, extension projections
  • Fingerling supply: origin, size, number
  • Feed management: food type, quantities, origin
  • Sanitary state: pathologies (bacteria, virus, parasites), treatments types (antibiotics, vaccines and chemicals products), treatments procedures and providers, prophylactic organization
  • Marketing organization: product types, packing and shipment, final markets

Identification of suitable sites

Suitable sites for aquaculture will be identified on the satellite maps of the Omani coast. An identification per aquaculture activity type will be executed considering the following parameters:

Offshore Fish aquaculture activity:

  • Environmental parameters : depth, sea water quality (temperature, salinity, suspended matter), sea beds and bathymetry (20m
  • Logistic parameters: land site (for feed storage and fish processign) in front of the cages, with harbour structure for boat access.

On Land Fish aquaculture activity

  • Environmental parameters: sea water quality (temperature, salinity, suspended matter), land altitude (for pumping height and electricity power consumption)
  • Logistic facilities parameters: altitude, land site access by road, electricity and fresh water networks, sea water pumping facilities

Molluscan aquaculture activity

  • Environmental parameters: sea water quality (temperature, salinity, suspended matter), sea water phytoplankton composition, sea bed and bathymetry, current and swell
  • Logistic parameters: land site (for shell process) in front of the production site, with harbour structure for boat access

Shrimp aquaculture activity

  • Environmental parameters: sea water quality (temperature, salinity, suspended matter), bathymetry, current, ground quality (clay, sealing, topography)
  • Logistic parameters: availability of energy, harbour structure, road etc.

These and other data sets will be consolidated as a national aquaculture atlas. This will include 40 maps of the Oman coast at a scale of 1:150000.

the Fish Site Editor

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