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MAFWR leads research on stingrays in Omani waters

14 Oct 2023 MAFWR leads research on stingrays in Omani waters By OUR CORRESPONDENT

Muscat – The Marine and Fisheries Science Centre, under the Ministry of Agriculture, Fisheries and Water Resources, has embarked on a two-year study on stingrays within Omani waters.

The research has secured RO85,000 funding from the Agricultural and Fisheries Development Fund.

Khalfan bin Mohammed al Rashidi, director, Fish Farming Center at MAFWR and the lead researcher, highlighted the significance of this project for various stakeholders, including fishermen, traders, and fishery-related enterprises.

“The initiative’s primary goal is to establish management practices for stingray fisheries so as to ensure the species’ protection against threats such as depletion and extinction,” Rashidi said.

Additionally, it will guide sustainable practices for stingray fisheries in Oman and identify potential avenues for industrial and investment growth within this sector, he added.

The research has already initiated the process of categorising stingrays present in Omani waters, pinpointing commercially viable species, and understanding their distribution across the coastal wilayats.

“Efforts are underway to determine their market value, enhance fishery products, and unveil investment opportunities, all in partnership with the private sector,” Rashidi informed.

The project’s anticipated outcomes are manifold. Among them is the creation of a comprehensive atlas featuring visual representations of stingrays native to Omani waters.

“This will help in determining the commercial species and evaluating their conservation status based on local and global criteria.”

The study may also result in documention of previously unrecognised stingray species in Oman, enhancing the nation’s marine biodiversity knowledge base.

Another facet of this initiative is its collaboration with private sector entities to repurpose stingray waste in fish processing and feed manufacturing.

Emphasising the project’s broader impact, Rashidi noted that the findings would facilitate academic publications, and showcase Oman’s commitment to stingray conservation in international circles and science conferences.

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