As part of its efforts to develop aquatic ecosystems in various governorates of the sultanate, the Ministry of Agriculture, Fisheries and Water Resources hopes to complete the artificial coral reefs project in Dibba in Musandam governorate by July.
Speaking to Muscat Daily, an official in the ministry said the Musandam Fisheries Department started the project in January 2019. The project is funded by the Agricultural and Fisheries Development Fund.
The project includes designing, manufacturing and deploying artificial reef modules.
“The project is part of strategic plans to develop the fisheries sector. The ministry aims to enhance fish stocks and biological diversity in the sultanate’s waters in a manner that ensures the sustainability and prosperity of natural fisheries,” the official said.
Meanwhile, an artificial coral reefs project of the ministry recently won the top prize at the Arab Scientific Society Organisation Awards for the best project in the Arab world in the field of environment in 2020. A total of 90 projects, submitted by individuals and institutions from 13 Arab countries, vied for the awards.
The ministry has implemented large-scale artificial coral reef projects in 14 wilayats of the sultanate. A total of 13,906 artificial reefs were grown in these sites from 2003 to 2019. These projects aim to increase fish stock, provide an environment conducive for fishing and, consequently, increase income of fishermen.
The ministry also seeks to develop the tourism sector by creating an environment ideal for diving and related tourist activities, besides creating an environment suitable to carry out scientific studies.
In 2019, the ministry launched its largest artificial coral reef off the coast of Suwaiq spread over an area of 20kmx7km. The project, called Suwaiq Marine Farm Artificial Reef Complex, has 4,280 coral reef units. Besides benefitting Suwaiq’s fishermen, it boosts tourism as well.