Muscat – In efforts to find new export markets for its fishery products, Oman is studying the lucrative European market.
Omani authorities are in talks with their European counterparts to explore opportunities in the seafood sector. “We are waiting for the authorities to decide whether we will deal in fresh or processed seafood. The talks are in early stages but there will be an outcome soon,” said Nabil al Bimani, CEO of Fisheries Development Oman.
The total value of seafood imports of Europe in 2020 was US$54.8bn. Its seafood imports have been on the rise since 2015, peaking at US$58bn in 2018.
Bimani was speaking at a conference titled ‘Omani-French Opportunities in Fisheries Sector’ held between Omani and French stakeholders at Oman Arab Bank Head Office on Monday.
Held under the patronage of H E Yaqoob al Busaidi, Undersecretary for Fisheries in the Ministry of Agriculture, Fisheries and Water Resources (MAFWR), the conference saw participation of more than a hundred people, including government officials, French and Omani businesses engaged in the fisheries sector, agro-food industries, shipbuilding and ship repair, and management of marine resources.
The focus of the conference was on exploring opportunities in Oman’s fisheries sector, particularly through the Duqm Multi-Purpose Port project.
The project is a collaboration between the Port of Lorient in France and Fisheries Development Oman. The conference aimed to connect stakeholders from France and Oman in different economic sectors and to highlight opportunities.
Bimani said, “The Duqm Multi-Purpose Port project is part of the development of the entire region of Duqm. Our association with the French teams will help us explore more opportunities in the area. It will also be expanded to train our fishermen both in technical and commercial aspects.”
He added that the fisheries sector is expanding rapidly in Dhofar; 60 per cent of the catch in Oman is from the governorate.
Speaking at the conference, Ahmed Saleh al Harthy, Director of Oman Vision 2040 in MAFWR, said, “We are 100 per cent committed to every SME and business related to fisheries. We have already identified fisheries ports that are run by SMEs and have extended full support.”
Joining the conference via Zoom, Mustapha el Kettab, Deputy Director of European Maritime Training Centre (CEFCM), said that his facility ensures maritime professionals get the best services and customised training. “We have 18 research ships, six underwater vehicles and robots, and conduct 150 campaigns a year with 1,500 to 1,800 scientists and students. Our association with Omani counterparts will definitely witness mutual benefits.”