New law on fishing in final stages

ROME: A new sea fishing law is in the final stages, said Dr Hamad bin Said al Oufi, Under-Secretary, Ministry of Agriculture and Fisheries.
Speaking at the ongoing 33rd Session of the Committee on Fisheries (COFI) in Rome, he said the law will help improve regulatory and administrative framework for fishing sector, improve performance of the sector as well as lives of fishermen.
The draft law has passed through different stages, including Majlis Ash’shura, State Council and Council of Ministers. It is now awaiting approval from the highest authorities in the country.
Dr Al Oufi said the Sultanate is one of the first countries in the region to have ratified the ‘Port State Agreement’ in an effort to prevent, deter and eliminate illegal, unreported and unregulated fishing.
The ministry was also working to develop regulations for codification of fishing equipment to improve their effectiveness in terms of their contribution to the sustainability of marine creatures.
Some of the equipment that have been codified are traps and driftnets. A joint framework with GCC countries has been set up to regulate Kingfish fishing, he said.
Speaking about a plan to protect sharks, he said that in the last two years, authorities concerned have developed a ‘national plan’ for conservation of sharks as per the international plans established by Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO). It is currently in the process of being adopted by the authorities.
“National plan combines need to protect sharks as well as marine environment and enables workers in the sector to use shark resources for nutrition
purposes, provide jobs for fishermen and traders and improve incomes of fishermen,” he said, while emphasising that “exploitation of sharks was a historical phenomenon” in Omani waters.