Times of Oman
Oman on way to becoming a potential marine export hub
August 16, 2017 | 9:33 PM
by Times News Service
The Ministry of Agriculture has a strategic plan for fisheries development for 2011 to 2040, which aims to provide 11,000 job opportunities for Omanis and produce 200,000 metric tonnes from aquaculture.
 
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Muscat: Oman could be on its way to becoming an export powerhouse for marine products.

Discussing the future of aquaculture in Oman at Ithraa’s ‘Inside Stories’ series, Andreas Ntatsopoulos, chief operating officer, Oman Aquaculture Development Company, highlighted the extraordinary potential of the sector.

“Oman has the opportunity to be recognised, along with the world’s leading aquaculture nations, such as Japan and Greece.”

Aquaculture is the rearing of fish in a confined area and involves cultivating freshwater and saltwater populations under controlled conditions.

Rumaitha Al Busaidi, aquaculture specialist, Al Hosn Investment Company, said: “A lot of us seem to forget that we come from a culture of the sea, we loved the sea, from the sea we became an empire, we were sea-ferrying people, and we should be proud of that.” Still in its infancy, aquaculture is already a growing sector in Oman with the potential to become a leading sector in the economy.

Oman could be on its way to becoming an export power house for marine products, according to Michael Katz, chief executive officer of Oman Aqua Science.

“The potential in Oman is so great. In fact, Oman has the opportunity to create a premium brand to sell at the premium level,” Katz added.

“Omani waters produce an incredible amount of fish, and the ministry in its wisdom has cut the production of certain fish like king fish, where these types of fish can be produced with aquaculture,” he added.

The Ministry of Agriculture has a strategic plan for fisheries development for 2011 to 2040, which aims to provide 11,000 job opportunities for Omanis and produce 200,000 metric tonnes from aquaculture.

Dawood Al Yahyai, director, Aquaculture Development, Ministry of Agriculture and Fisheries, said: “The Sultanate is on track in terms of its aquaculture goals. Currently, we have 24 applications for aquaculture centres; we are expecting 290,000 metric tonnes by 2030, even before the deadline.”

When asked about the challenges of employing Omanis in this sector, Ntatsopoulos, whose company’s employees include 70 per cent Omanis, said: “It’s not that we have to use Omanis—we want to, because they are fisherman, they know the sea, they understand the fish.”

The session also brought together experts from the field and young Omanis, who are interested in aquaculture.

“The seminar has opened up dialogue for all of us in the sector, allowing us to share common concerns and interests,” said Warith Al Kharusi, executive director of Al Safwa, who attended the event.

Disease is one of the biggest challenges to aquaculture, but the Sultanate is lucky enough not to face this challenge, given its lack of pollution.



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