Sultanate joins world in marking Ocean Day with focus on protection action plan

Energy Monday 08/June/2020 19:11 PM
By: Times News Service
Sultanate joins world in marking Ocean Day with focus on protection action plan

Muscat: The world marks on 8 June every year the World Oceans Day, with the aim of reminding everyone of the importance of the oceans role in our daily life.
Oceans contain more than 200 thousand species, but the actual numbers may be in millions and thus it is the world's largest source of protein. About 3 billion people depend on it as a major source of protein for them. More than 200 million people work directly or indirectly in fisheries.
The Sultanate ranked 35th globally in terms of fish production, by virtue of its distinctive location overlooking the Indian Ocean. It is ranked 10th in terms of fish production among the countries overlooking the Indian Ocean. Accordingly, the Sultanate has become a major and active member in the Indian Ocean Rim Association (IORA). The association comprises 22 countries, including the Sultanate.
It was established on 7 March 1997 as per an initiative of the late President of South Africa Nelson Mandela. It is a government organisation that aims at promoting regional economic, political and scientific cooperation and sustainable development within the Indian Ocean region.
The Indian Ocean is considered the third largest ocean in the world. It carries half the containers of the world, third of the bulk cargo movement, two thirds of oil shipments, and about a third of tuna fish production. Therefore, it is the lifeblood of international trade and economic development.
IORA countries produce goods and services worth more than a trillion US dollars annually while the intraregional trade of IORA countries hits more than $777 billion. Thus, they are also rich in strategic and precious metals and minerals, marine resources and agricultural resources. They also enjoy significant human resources and high technological capabilities.
Fisheries and related industries are of great importance in ensuring food security. Both fish depletion and climate change have accelerated the reduction of key fish stocks in the Indian Ocean region. The Indian Ocean fisheries sector provides food to hundreds of millions of people and it is a major contributor to food security, poverty alleviation, job creation and income generation.
In order to achieve IORA goals in dealing with strategic issues of fisheries and fish farming in countries overlooking the Indian Ocean, IORA considered the importance of establishing a unit for fisheries support (Fisheries Support Unit "FSU") to be hosted by the Sultanate as per a royal decree issued in 2013 for the ratification of the permanent headquarters agreement for the Fisheries Support Unit between the Government of the Sultanate of Oman and the Indian Ocean Rim Association for regional cooperation, under the supervision of the Ministry of Agriculture and Fisheries.
Dr. Lubna bint Hamoud Al Kharousi, Director General of Fish Research, was appointed as FSU Director. Since the establishment of the unit, it has worked as a regional centre in the Sultanate to manage the efforts of the Association to define and address the main issues related to fisheries management mentioned in the Association's action plan and facilitate dialogue between investors and the Association’s countries regarding strategic issues, and the main issues related to the development of the Blue Economy.
The unit works on knowledge exchange and capacity building. It has managed to develop human resources in IORA member states by implementing many relevant workshops and training courses to become a link for the fish sectors between the countries of the Indian Ocean region.
The unit is currently following the five-year plan 2020-2025 that is part of the association's strategy and works in conjunction with the Blue Economy Group.