Muscat: An increase of 6.1 per cent was recorded in the Sultanate's fish production during the first quarter of 2017 compared to the same period last year, according to the Ministry of Agriculture and Fisheries.
The production of artisanal fishing sector is about 99 per cent of the amount of fish catch.
In its statistical bulletin for the ministry, the National Centre for Statistics and Information (NCSI) said that the quantity of fish catch in seven coastal governorates including Muscat, Musandam, North and South Al Batinah, South A'Sharqiyah, Al Wusta and Dhofar from the artisanal fishing and coastal fishing stood at 94,014 tonnes at the end of last March 2017 compared to 88,578 tonnes during the same period in 2016, including 92,993 tonnes of artisanal fishing.
The Sultanate's production of fish during 2016 according to the final data of the Ministry of Agriculture and Fisheries was 279,507 tonnes, about 9 per cent higher than the production in 2015, which amounted to 257,000 tonnes. According to the strategic plan launched by the Ministry of Agriculture and Fisheries, the Sultanate's fish production will gradually increase to reach half a million tonnes by the end of 2020 from the Sultanate's seas or fish farming.
There are currently 23 ports on the shores of the Sultanate, in addition to two new ports under construction and 4 new ports under study. A report by the Ministry of Agriculture and Fisheries said that Sultanate's fish production increased from 158,000 tonnes in 2011 to 280,000 tonnes at the end of 2016 with an average growth rate of 12.1 per cent.
Estimates of fish stocks and usable quantities indicated that the estimated living mass of benthic fish is about at 330,000 tonnes, of which about 95,000 tonnes can be exploited. The currently exploited quantity is more than 63,000 tonnes while the quantity of small fish stocks is more than 1.9 million tonnes, of which 970,000 tonnes can be exploited and currently about 119,000 tonnes are being used. The estimates of live mass of Lantern fishes are more than 5 million tonnes in the Arabian Sea and the Sea of Oman, more than 1.2 million tonnes can be exploited.