Muscat – The Ministry of Agriculture, Fisheries and Water Resources (MAFWR) has launched the second phase of an artificial coral reef project in the wilayat of Sur, South Sharqiyah, to enhance fish stocks in the sultanate’s waters, provide an environment conducive for fishing and, consequently, increase income of fishermen.
MAFWR launched this phase of the project with funding from Oman India Fertiliser Company.
Speaking to Muscat Daily, an official of the ministry said, “The project aims to enhance fish stocks by sustaining natural fisheries and providing an environment to help fish and marine species flourish.”
In January this year, MAFWR signed an agreement with Korean firm Haejoo to implement Phase II of the Sur artificial coral reef project.
Ryan Paik, general manager of Haejoo, told Muscat Daily that the project would spread over an area of four hectares on the seabed and follows the successful handover of its first phase to the ministry.
“The first phase has been very successful. We jointly monitored the first phase with the ministry for a period of two years and found that biomass of the site increased ten times and biodiversity 12 times,” he said.
According to Paik, the seabed at the site was a marine desert. “The project turned into a marine forest.”
To be built at a cost of RO90,000, the project aims to design, manufacture and place units of purpose-built artificial reefs and follow up on the results of installation in order to create an appropriate environment for fish and marine species to flourish.
MAFWR has implemented large-scale artificial coral reef projects in 14 wilayats of the sultanate. A total of 13,906 artificial reefs were grown at these sites from 2003 to 2019.
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.