The fishing industry is one of the largest employers in the sultanate and a major contributor to the national economy. With many new fishing ports launched recently or under planning, besides the growing infrastructure support for the industry, fish landings have steadily increased over the years.
The number of fishermen has also risen from 49,715 in 2018 to 50,405 in 2019.
The Ministry of Agriculture, Fisheries and Water Resources has launched several projects to support the fishery sector by modernising boats, launching fish farms, setting up fish markets and creating artificial breeding grounds among coral reefs in Suwaiq to boost volumes.
Fish production increased by 4.8 per cent to 580,000 tonnes in the sultanate in 2019, compared to 553,000 tonnes in 2018, according to official statistics released recently.
The figures released by National Centre for Statistics and Information (NCSI) show that artisanal fishing accounted for 96 per cent of the sultanate’s total fish production in 2019. There was a 1.2 per cent increase in total production from artisanal fishing in 2019 over 2018.
NCSI figures show that 37 per cent of the sultanate’s artisanal fish production in 2019 was contributed by Al Wusta governorate, followed by South Sharqiyah – 26 per cent.
Commercial fish production increased from 19,600 tonnes in 2018 to 20,100 tonnes in 2019, while total production from aquaculture increased by 603 tonnes from 2018 to 2019, according to NCSI figures.
In 2019, 75 per cent of Oman’s total fish production was exported to the GCC, 68 per cent of which was exported to the UAE.
In 2019, the total landing from artisanal fishing was 555,210 tonnes, while it was 20,055 tonnes from commercial fishing, 3,921 tonnes from coastal fishing and 1,054 tonnes for aquaculture.
According to the NCSI, a total of 50,405 fishermen and 25,030 boats were engaged in artisanal fishery in Oman in 2019, compared to 49,715 fishermen and 23,726 boats in 2018, and 49,299 fishermen and 23,913 boats in 2017.
In 2019, the Ministry of Agriculture, Fisheries and Water Resources and Al Raffd Fund signed a cooperation agreement to finance a project to introduce 275 modern fishing vessels by 2023.
The ministry has trained 250 Omanis in the first phase of this project. The programme aims to empower Omani youth to work in the fisheries sector. The programme also aims to maintain quality of fish products, raise the revenues of Omani fishermen, and improve their working conditions by meeting safety and security requirements on boats.
The programme includes training of fishermen on the applications of navigation devices, boat operations, maintenance of engines, requirements of safety and security and maintenance of fish quality.