Fish farming production reached about 451 tonnes in 2018, an increase of 485 per cent compared to 2017, according to the National Centre for Statistics and Information. The total quantity of fish landing reached 306,420 tonnes by the end of August 2019 compared to 311,254 tonnes in the same period of 2018, a drop of 1.6 per cent.
Traditional fishing practices contributed to 294,365 tonnes till the end of August 2019 compared to 308,547 tons in 2018, constituting a fall of 4.6 per cent.
The total value of the fish stock was RO168.191mn as at the end of 2019, representing a growth of 10.3 per cent over RO152.446mn at the end of 2018.
Al Wusta tops chart
Al Wusta had the highest fish landings at 98,100 tonnes, followed by South Sharqiyah at 68,998 tonnes and North and South Batinah at 43,869 tonnes.
The quantity of fish landings in Dhofar was 41,931 tonnes, Musandam at 26,114 tonnes and Muscat at 15,353 tonnes.
According to landings by species, the largest quantity by the end of August 2019 comprised small pelagic fish at 181,635 tonnes compared to 187,708 tonnes at the end of 2018, a decline of 3.2 per cent.
The quantity of large pelagic fish fell by 11.3 per cent to 56,457 tonnes by the end of August 2019 compared to 63,615 tonnes by the end of 2018.
The quantity of demersal fish landings reached 44,994 tonnes, an increase of 6.5 per cent compared to 42,231 tonnes in August 2018.
Meanwhile, there was a decline in the quantity of sharks and rays by 39.6 per cent and crustaceans and molluscs by 14.1 per cent.
Coastal and commercial fishing contributed to about 2,283 tonnes and 9,773 tonnes of total landings, respectively, by the end of August 2019.
UAE top importer
The Ministry of Agriculture and Fisheries (MoAF) has said that the top five importing countries were the UAE (53,000 tonnes), Thailand (44,000 tonnes), Saudi Arabia (24,000 tonnes), Brazil (23,000 tonnes) and Bangladesh (15,000 tonnes).
MoAF said that several local companies have started exporting their products to Russia from this month. Omani companies have completed the necessary procedures and approvals required. The step will boost investment options between the two countries. The ministry has launched several programmes to develop the fishing fleets as part of its endeavour to develop the artisan and coastal fishing sectors and support commercial fishing in the high seas.
Advanced boats programme
The advanced fishing boats programme aims at introducing 270 state-of-the-art boats by the end of 2023. ‘We have also prepared a plan to develop the coastal fishing sector,’ it said. MoAF is aiming to increase the fisheries sector’s contribution to the GDP five fold, taking it to RO1.3bn in 2023 from RO225mn in 2016. To achieve this target, the ministry is expecting to raise fish production to 1.4mn tonnes in 2023 from 280,000 tonnes in 2016.