In a move to increase fish production and support fishermen, the Ministry of Agriculture, Fisheries and Water Resources (MAFWR) developed 14,022 artificial coral reef units in 154 sites between 2003 and 2020.
According to the ministry, development of these projects aims to increase fish stock in the sultanate, provide an environment conducive for fishing and, consequently, increase the income of fishermen.
An official at the MAFWR said, “North Batinah governorate has the largest number of coral reef units with 7,992 distributed across 89 sites, followed by Muscat with 2,661 units in 27 sites, South Batinah with 2,115 units in 22 sites, Musandam with 1,194 units in 12 sites and South Sharqiyah with 50 units in three sites.”
Talking about the goals of developing coral reefs, he said, “Building artificial coral reefs in the sultanate aims to increase the productivity of fisheries, enhance biodiversity in the marine environment, support fishermen, and save effort and money. These projects also aim to create a suitable environment for carrying out scientific studies of industrial reefs and living organisms and developing other economic sectors by creating an attractive environment for diving and tourism.”
Continuing with the programme, the MAFWR signed an agreement with the Korean firm Haejoo in January 2021 to implement the second phase of an artificial coral reef project in the wilayat of Sur.
To be built at a cost of RO90,000 and funded by the Oman Indian Fertilizer Company, the project aims to design, manufacture and unload units of purpose-built artificial reef and follow up on the results of its installation in order to create an appropriate environment for fish and marine species to flourish.