Oman has embarked on an ambitious path to expand and diversify fisheries through aquaculture - the farming of fish, molluscs, crustaceans and seaweed. In support of future aquaculture development in Oman, the Ministry of Agriculture and Fisheries Wealth (MoAFW) has conducted extensive surveys of potential sites, developed a comprehensive guide to better management practices for Oman aquaculture, developed a national strategic plan and in collaboration with FAO and Sultan Qaboos University has published a critical review of food safety and environmental issues.
The successful development of modern aquaculture, which currently accounts for more than half of all seafood consumed, has been driven by scientific and technological innovation. It is widely recognised that emerging biotechnologies hold the key to future expansion through their direct applications in the critical areas of fish reproduction, health and nutrition.
The applications of modern tools have led to spectacular gains in the production of traditional crops and farm animals. Dr Delghandi said that in aquaculture, there has been limited application of new biotechnologies and most farmers including those in Oman are working with wild stocks collected from the capture fishery.
“New biotechnology-linked resources are needed in Oman if advanced selective breeding programmes are to be developed and the potential genetic gains realised for the economic benefit of fish farmers,” he said.