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Oman excels in aquatic food production and exports: FAO

Vendors prepare the fish for display at a local market in Muscat.
Vendors prepare the fish for display at a local market in Muscat.

In the recently published Fishery and Statistics Yearbook for 2020 by the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) of the United Nations, Oman's thriving fishery industry and impressive statistics have garnered attention. The yearbook provides insights into Oman's fishery sector, including its per capita consumption, production, exports, imports, and employment figures.

According to the statistics, Oman's per capita consumption of aquatic food reached 30.9 kilogrammes in 2019, reflecting the country's significant reliance on fishery products. In 2020, Oman's total fishery production recorded an impressive figure, with 1,307 tonnes of aquaculture production and a substantial capture of 793,419 tonnes. This showcases the country's commitment to both aquaculture and sustainable fishing practices.

The value of Oman's fishery exports for 2020 was reported at $411,375,000, highlighting the nation's strong position in the international market. Conversely, imports amounted to $64,827,000, indicating a trade surplus and a self-sufficient domestic market. Additionally, Oman engaged in the export and import of algae, with exports valued at $35,000 and imports at $932,000, further diversifying its aquatic product trade.

Among the various species, Indian oil sardines were the primary items of aquatic animals, contributing a significant share of 430,130 tonnes, which accounted for 54.1% of the total aquatic production. Yellowfin tuna followed with 68,578 tonnes, representing 8.6% of the total, while longtail tuna contributed 27,206 tonnes, comprising 3.4% of the total aquatic production.

Oman's fishery industry has experienced substantial growth over the years, as evident from the historical production figures. The country has consistently increased its average production, with annual averages of 111,000 tonnes in the 1980s, 117,000 tonnes in the 1990s, 146,000 tonnes in the 2000s, and 295,000 tonnes in the 2010s. Notably, Oman achieved a remarkable production milestone in 2020, reaching 793,000 tonnes, a testament to the industry's continuous expansion. Furthermore, Oman's fishery sector accounted for 1.1% of the total global production, solidifying its position among the top 30 fishery producers worldwide.

The report also sheds light on the state of Oman's fishing vessels and employment figures. In 2020, the number of motorised fishing vessels stood at 25,206, while non-motorised vessels amounted to 9,091. This emphasises the industry's modernisation and adoption of advanced technology. Moreover, the fishery sector played a significant role in providing employment opportunities, with a workforce of 58,710 individuals in 2020, contributing to the country's economic development.

Oman's net export of aquatic animals displayed substantial growth, reflecting the increasing demand for its products globally. In 2019, the country's net export value was reported at $180 million, which surged to $341 million in 2020, representing a significant increase. This growth reaffirms Oman's position as a leading exporter of high-quality aquatic products.

The Fishery and Statistics Yearbook 2020 by FAO underscores Oman's achievements in the fishery sector, highlighting its robust production, expanding exports, and contribution to the global market. The country's commitment to sustainable fishing practices and investment in aquaculture have played a pivotal role in its success.

The FAO Yearbook of Fishery and Aquaculture Statistics, prepared by the Statistics Team of the FAO Fisheries and Aquaculture Division, offers a synthesis of the major trends in the fisheries and aquaculture sector. Statistics are presented in eight main thematic chapters, covering statistics of production (total, aquaculture, capture fisheries), employment, fleet, consumption and trade.

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