$110m Duqm mega fisheries project set for early-2022 launch

MUSCAT: One of Oman’s largest fish processing ventures — a $110 million project planned in the Fisheries Industrial Zone of the Special Economic Zone (SEZ) at Duqm — will commence production in early 2022, according to a key investor in the initiative.
International Sea Food Co will be designed with a capacity to produce 72,000 tonnes per annum of sardine along with 17,000 tonnes of tuna, said Oman Fisheries Co SAOG, presently the Sultanate’s biggest fish processing enterprise owned 24 per cent by the Omani government represented by Oman Food Investment Holding Company — the country’s food sector investment flagship.
Oman Food Investment is spearheading the establishment of International Sea Food Co and has since attracted investment from a number of local and regional players, including Hassad Food, the premier food investment corporation in Qatar.
Oman Fisheries plans to use its 12.5 per cent stake in the proposed Duqm venture to drive its “vertical growth”, the company’s Chairman said. The plant will also produce fish oil and fish-based animal feed, as well invest in a captive metal can manufacturing facility.
Partly state-owned Oman Fisheries, which was set up by Royal Decree in 1987, is reducing its dependence on local traditional fishermen for the bulk of its feedstock for its processing plants, and is instead investing in its own commercial fishing capability.
At the same time, it has signed strategic deals with six international fishing firms that are operating in Omani waters under profit sharing arrangements.
Further, Oman Fisheries has commercial tie-ups with private firms covering the procurement of their frozen onboard catch when they fish in international waters.
Additionally, the Muscat-based company plans to invest in the modernisation of its major plants in Muscat, Masirah and Salalah, aimed at bolstering its collective capacity to handle volumes generated by its commercial vessel fleet.
Also, building on its partnerships with small and medium enterprises (SMEs) in the fisheries sector, the company is set to bring a further three SME-owned processing plants under its operational auspices — a move that will ramp up its total processing capacity to 90,000 tonnes per annum, which accounts for around one-third of the country’s total catch of fresh fish.