Monday, November 29, 2021 | Rabi' ath-thani 23, 1443 H
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Good tidal condition helps collect shellfish, mollusks and oysters

People, especially those living near the coasts, were waiting for the temperature to get moderate and watch the tides.

The low levels of sea tidal condition contribute to the emergence of large rocky areas and wet lands in which shellfish live. Among the places frequented by those interested in marine environment are the beaches overlooking the sea where the levels of the sea reach less than half a metre during the evenings.

The beaches in the Governorate of Muscat are one of the sites that attract fishing and shellfish enthusiasts.

The case of the sea tidal condition provides an opportunity for oysters and marine mollusks, given that the Sultanate of Oman is rich with many invertebrate marine organisms such as crustaceans and mollusks, which are among the species of high economic value.

According to environmental studies, shellfish are divided into three sections according to the number of their shells.

There are uni-shell oysters, such as snails, and bivalve oysters, which contain two shells connected to each other. Others are pearl oysters, and multi-shell oysters. Their bodies contain segmented shells such as chitons.

Shellfish is one of the tributaries of economic diversification. The Ministry of Agriculture, Fisheries and Water Resources, implemented a project for an exploratory field survey of shellfish resources in coastal areas to include 30 sites within 6 governorates.

The studies indicate that the field survey of oyster resources aimed to provide basic data on the types of oysters and their environments in the Omani coastal waters and their predominant distribution in each region, and to know the geographical distribution of the important commercial types of oysters, and to issue a field guide that includes all types classified in the Sultanate of Oman, and to be a reference source for researchers and those interested in oysters. Additionally to create a reference group for different samples of oysters, preserving and storing them.

Field surveys have documented 252 species of shellfish at survey sites in the seas of the Sultanate of Oman, and studies have confirmed that “sea snails are the most common and are present with a number of 156 species, and there are 92 species of bi-shell clams and 4 types of multi-shell clams.”

It should be noted that the oysters scattered in the sandy coasts of the Sultanate of Oman, such as the “duke”, are invested, especially in the governorates of Muscat and Al Batinah, and are used in preparing some popular dishes. And it is known worldwide as the Oyster.

Al Wusta Governorate is characterised by fishing for “Al-Rahas” oysters, which are several types of sea snails spread between rocks and sand and have a very high nutritional value. Omanis give it different names. In Muscat it is locally called (Al-At), and in Dhofar it is called (Harshef).

Environmental studies confirm that “Omanis have been associated with eating shellfish/ oysters for thousands of years. The remains of archaeological teeth that were discovered in the Ras Al Hamra area proved, after analysis, that they are related to eating mollusks, which include shellfish, after comparing them with other archaeological teeth in the Arab world and East Africa.”

Archaeologists at the erstwhile Ministry of National Heritage and Culture discovered in 1977 in the natural mangrove swamps of empty shells after eating its content of mollusks, and found dumped and prepared for use in making a fishing rod, dating back to 6,000 years.

It is obvious that there are flocks of sea birds in a striking way, as they seize the opportunity to obtain the largest amount of food more easily. Experts in the field of marine environment say that the presence of birds in such abundance during this period suggests an ecological balance, which is a natural task that birds perform in such seasons. But what worries experts is that the population exaggerates the investment of these marine life in a way that may lead to their depletion, threatening their reproduction during the coming period. Hence, the process of investing this national wealth must be regulated by the competent authorities in the Sultanate of Oman in accordance with the environmental requirements in force in this field.

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