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Sardines account for 61% of fish exports from Oman

Business Saturday 02/July/2016 21:46 PM
By: Times News Service
Sardines account for 61% of fish exports from Oman

Salalah: Shorelines surrounding the Sultanate enjoy a rich and varied marine life due to its location overlooking the Sea of Oman, the Arabian Sea and the Indian Ocean.
Omani waters are home to many types of marine life, such as crustaceans and molluscs, along with Pelagic and Demersal fish, and particularly sardines, which is a traditional seafood and rich in protein and fat.
Sardines, locally known as “Ouma”, occupy the first rank in fish exports of the Sultanate. Last year it accounted for 61 per cent of the exported quantities of fish, reaching a total value of OMR29.6 million.
The Sultanate’s total production of sardines in 2015 was 82,654 tonnes, up 32 per cent from 2014, including exports of 79,389 tonnes and 3,265 tonnes for domestic consumption.
The Governorate of Al Wusta ranked first, in terms of the production of sardines in the Sultanate, producing 43,047 tonnes last year, equivalent to 52 per cent of the total production, followed by the Governorate of South A’Sharqiyah with 24,103 tonnes,representing 29 per cent of total Omani production.
The Governorates of North and South Al Batinah produced 6,588 tonnes, with 8 per cent. Also, the Governorate of Dhofar produced 5,243 tonnes, the equivalent of 6 per cent, the Governorate of Muscat reported 2,361 tonnes, with 3 per cent, and the Governorate of Musandam produced 1,312 tonnes, with 2 per cent of total production.
The studies, conducted by the Aquarium and Marine Science and Fisheries Centre,suggested the possibility of increasing the production of sardines from Omani seas.
It further recommended increasing the Sultanate’s production of sardines by 18.9 per cent over the coming years.
Further, the studies estimated a proposed minimum size for fishing in the Sea of Oman of 17 cm and a minimum size in the Arabian Sea of 19 cm.
Sardines are located in the northwestern part of the Indian Ocean, from the Horn of Africa and along the coast of Oman and the Arabian Gulf, and even spread as far east as the southern coasts of India and Sri Lanka. Sardines migrate within Oman’s coastal waters. Sardines appear on a seasonal basis, where they move in large schools from October to February. Most sardines are concentrated in the Governorates of Al Wusta, Dhofar, South and North Al Batinah, as well as South and North A’Sharqiyah.
Blackish oil is extracted from sardines. It is used in many applications, including coating of boats and ships due to its ability to prevent water from leaking into the interior of the ships. In the past, sardine oil was in great demand by makers of traditional ships. -ONA