Artificial coral reef to boost fish output

MUSCAT, May 7 – An agreement to create the governorate’s largest artificial breeding ground for unique coral reefs in Al Suwaiq was signed by the Ministry of Agriculture and Fisheries with a Korean firm Hae Joo at the Ministry on Monday.
The two-and-half-year long agreement which is valued at RO 2.65 million will, upon its implementation, give a major fillip not just to the Sultanate’s fisheries sector but to eco-tourism and other allied sectors, according to the ministry.
“This is the largest artificial coral reef in the governorate in terms of investment, size and expectations and the results will be manifold,” Dr Fuad bin Jaafar al Sajwani, Minister of Agriculture and Fisheries, told the Observer.
“These reefs will attract fish as we have experienced in other parts of the country and the quantity of sea wealth will go up resulting in increased income for the fishermen in Al Suwaiq and elsewhere,” he added.
Measuring 20×7 km, this huge underwater reef farm which will be completed in two and half years is a milestone that has a sustainable impact on Oman’s agro wealth, eco-tourism and environment.
“This significant project involves going into the sea to create a marine farm to gain value for Oman’s fish resources. This has been designed to provide habitats,” says Ryan of Hae Joo Korean company.

“The project is all about providing an alternate breeding ground not just for the fish but for the ecosystem or habitat as a whole. It’s a purpose-built ecosystem where corals can be grown, provide food and shelter for the guests which are fish,” he adds.
“There is a decline in the fish stock in the recent past and once the project is completed, we expect the revenue from fisheries to double and most importantly to reduce the cost of fishing efforts.”
Fishermen will be directly benefiting as they will be able
to fish 10 times more fish in a sustainable manner.
Fishermen from Suwaiq and elsewhere will no longer have to travel far for the day’s catch which involves cost and safety issues.
“This programme which has been already experimented in Japan and Korea some
55 years ago also has lot of other added advantages including eco-tourism where the visitors will come and enjoy recreational fishing and dive to see the coral reef, while providing sustainable income potential,” said Ryan.
Once the project is complete, Oman hopes to replicate the same in other wilayat as well particularly in
Batinah.

KABEER YOUSUF