Muscat: The fisheries sector figures among the main components of economic diversification resources due to the fact that it is a renewable sector capable of contributing to food security and providing employment opportunities for citizens, besides augmenting the Gross Domestic Product (GDP).
In 2017, the Fisheries Lab announced more than 90 initiatives and projects that covered three basic activities. These include: commercial fishing (firms), artisanal fishing (individual full-time fishermen) and fish farming; fishery industries and exporting.
The initiatives and programmes are expected to achieve a considerable increase to the GDP estimated at OMR556 million, thereby achieving a three-fold rise of the overall contribution of the fisheries sector over 2017 figures to OMR781 million by 2023 and generating an investment value touching OMR1 billion.
Dr Abdulaziz Said Al Marzouqi, Director General of Fisheries Resources Development, affirmed that the commercial fishing fleet’s development plan seeks to sustain the leading role of the fleet in developing the fisheries sector and realising the most ideal use of its resources.
In a statement to Oman News Agency (ONA), Al Marzouqi pointed out that the plan targets OMR1.34 billion increase of output from fishing areas by 2025. Accordingly, the contribution of the fisheries sector to the GDP is expected to stand at OMR387 million, besides generating 8,509 direct jobs and investments valued at OMR447 million by 2025, he added.
Al Marzouqi explained that fisheries surveys on the live marine fisheries stocks in the Arabian Sea indicates the availability of an estimated 3.5 million metric tonnes, but only 10 per cent is utilised.
Data of the Ministry of Agriculture, Fisheries and Water Resources shows that the volume of demersal fish (seabed fish) is estimated at 330,000 tonnes, of which 95,000 tonnes can be used whereas the amount used currently stands at 88,000 tonnes. The stock of surface fish stands at 1.9 million tonnes, of which 970,000 tonnes is usable, but only 349,000 tonnes are actually utilised.
Speaking about the plan to develop the commercial fishing sector, Al Marzouqi said that it includes the introduction of more fishing vessels that use different fishing equipment like long threads, hedging (fencing) and medium-depth traction targeting tuna stocks and surface fish gradually between 2018 and 2025.