Oman Fisheries, the Sultanate’s largest fish processing enterprise owned 24 per cent by the Omani government, posted a net loss of RO 175,500 for the quarter ended June 30, 2017 — a decline attributed to a combination of natural and economic factors.
Group revenue plummeted 30 per cent to RO 3.68 million in the second quarter of this year, down from RO 5.22 million for the same quarter of last year.
Company officials blamed the slump partly to lower yields from landings along the coast, as well as shortfalls in the availability of high margin species like lobster, emperor fish and other commercially valuable fish.
Also contributing to the decline, officials stated in the Directors’ Report for Q2 2017, was the early advent of rough sea conditions off the southern coast of the Sultanate.
“Compared to last year, the fishing season closed early this year, thereby reducing the opportunity for achieving higher (fish) volumes for purchase and for subsequent sale,” according to the Directors’ Report.
Compounding the situation for the company was the premature shutdown of a number of fish processing plants in line with the recommendations of an expert panel mooting the revamp and modernisation of these facilities in preparation for the next fishing season.
To help offset the impacts of these developments on its bottom-line, Oman Fisheries says it has initiated a number of steps to “reduce the operational risks and susceptibility to seasonal volatility of fish landings”.
This includes options for commercial fishing and trading opportunities through joint ventures with international companies. The company also plans to establish partnerships with local fish processing companies with the aim of outsourcing surplus quantities to them for processing.
Furthermore, Oman Fisheries aims to upgrade the efficiency and productivity of its processing plants, while enhancing logistics and supply chain efficiencies with a view to reducing transit times to and from the processing plants. The recent recommissioning of its Buraimi facility after a three year gap will support this broader goal, the company noted.
In June, Oman Fisheries announced the signing of an Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with a leading commercial fishing company aimed at boosting the catch of tuna and other high-value species through joint fishing initiatives.
Representing the government’s stake in Oman Fisheries is Oman Food & Investment Corporation (OFIC), a wholly government-owned strategic agricultural and food related investment holding company.