59pc growth in fisheries

Muscat: On the back of higher production, the fisheries sector witnessed a rapid jump of 59 per cent in 2018. The sector contributed 7.3 per cent to the growth of GDP emanating from non-petroleum activities during 2018.

However, this is lower than an average of 15 per cent in the previous two years, according to figures in the 2018 annual report of the Central Bank of Oman.

“The relative share of agriculture and fishing in the overall GDP, however, continued to hover around 2 per cent, despite the noticeable growth in the last few years”, says the report.

The agriculture and fishing activities grew at a decelerated rate of 6.9 per cent in 2018 in comparison with an average of 9.3 per cent during the preceding two years (2016-2017).

“The fishing sector has immense potential with large marine endowments of over 3,000-km long coastline and accordingly, the fishing has been included under the diversification programme (Tanfeedh)”, points out the report by the apex bank.

The ninth five-year plan (2016-2020) has set a target of an average annual growth rate at 6.5 per cent for fishing activities that would increase its share in GDP to 0.6 per cent by 2020.

According to the annual report released by the Implementation, Support and Follow-up Unit (ISFU), there are five agricultural projects and 12 fisheries projects currently progressing in the Sultanate.

The 12 fisheries and seafood projects include farms in which to raise and harvest fish and other seafood, as well as processing plants to make them ready for export and public consumption.

Two of the biggest projects are the Dhofar seafood canning plant and Al Wusta Industrial Fisheries.

The Dhofar Fisheries and Food Industries, which is unique in the GCC, focuses on canning tuna, sardines, fish meal, fish oil and otherby-porducts.

At the same time, the Al Wusta Industrial Fisheries intends to operate in the small pelagic commercial fleet-line that will target an unfished species and start trial-fishing for a period of two years.

The fleet is capable of netting 100,000 tonnes per year from the available 1.3 million tonnes, making a minimal impact on the stock.

The five shrimp farms — Al Jazer, Bar Al Hikman and Bentout, Quron and Khuwaima are expected to deliver 71,200 tonnes of shrimp per annum. The Bentout Shrimp Farm is the first shrimp farming project established in Oman, with the first harvest expected in 2021.

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