Supported by strong investments in new fisheries infrastructure and necessary institutional, legislative, technical and economic frameworks, fish production in the Sultanate of Oman has increased from 284K tonnes in 2014 to 1,703K tonnes in 2022.
Dr Dawood bin Sulaiman al Yahyai, Director General of Fisheries Research at the Ministry of Agriculture, Fisheries and Water Resources, said during the opening of ‘Biosecurity Applications in Fish Farms’ workshop, “The Sultanate of Oman, represented by the Ministry of Agriculture, Fisheries and Water Resources, has paid great attention to the fisheries sector through the development of plans, programmes and projects aimed at achieving sustainable fisheries development and investment in this field.”
The workshop, held under the auspices of Dr Ahmed bin Nasser al Bakri, Under-Secretary of the Ministry of Agriculture, Fisheries and Water Resources, was attended by a number of specialists in fish farming and Prof Dr Salah El-Din Moselhi, Head of the Agency for the Protection and Development of Lakes and Fisheries, a biosecurity expert in the Arab Republic of Egypt.
Al Yahyai stressed that the fish farming activity has received great attention from the Ministry as a supportive industry for the fisheries sector to contribute to increasing fish production, providing job opportunities for future generations and providing food security.
The Ministry’s interest in the sector paved way for creating the necessary institutional, legislative, technical and economic frameworks for its development on sound and sustainable basis. As a result of this interest, fish farming production in Oman increased from 284K tonnes in 2014 to 1,703K tonnes in 2022. Commercial production from fish farming in 2022 reached about 1,350K tonnes of European cofferfish. The efforts of the Ministry and its focus on small fish farmers have contributed to the increase in fish production from integrated fish farms in fresh water of 5K tonnes in 2014 to 353K tonnes in 2021. It is also expected that Omani abalone production will start commercially next year. Currently there are 28 integrated fish farms in fresh water in Oman.
With regard to the commercial sector, Al Yahyai said there is a floating sea cages project for production of coffer fish, two projects for shrimp production and a project for Omani abalone production, in addition to other requests in various stages of approvals.
He said, “The fish farming sector, like other sectors of food production, may face challenges and difficulties, the most important of which are diseases and epidemics that may affect farms for various reasons, which may cause large economic losses. In some cases, it may lead to complete closure of fish farms.”
Referring to the statistics, he said, “The economic losses associated with diseases and epidemics have reached about $6 billion. Therefore, biosecurity has emerged as one of the important aspects of fish farming.”
Biosecurity can be defined simply as a set of procedures and measures that are taken to protect fish farms. Biosecurity measures include components of the fish production chain in aquaculture, starting from caring for the mothers of cultured organisms, producing fry, transporting them, rearing them, handling and harvesting procedures. It is very important for fish farm owners to adhere to these measures to protect the farm and provide healthy and quality products
“This workshop, organised by the General Directorate of Fisheries Research, represented by the Fish Farming Centre, aims to introduce the most important of these (biosecurity) procedures for fish farming, especially freshwater fish farms, and to raise the level of awareness and familiarity with these procedures among specialists and owners of fish farms. We hope that this seminar will contribute to achieving the desired goal of exchanging experiences among the participants,” Al Yahyai concluded.