New shrimp farm project on Oman’s east coast

Shrimp farming – a hugely promising segment of Oman’s burgeoning aquaculture industry – got a further boost on Saturday following the signing of a key contract for the establishment of a new shrimp production farm in South Al Sharqiyah Governorate.

Oriental Shrimp Aquaculture LLC, a subsidiary of Fisheries Development Oman (FDO) – a wholly government-owned fisheries investment vehicle – is setting up the shrimp farm at Khuwaimah in Jaalan Bani Bu Ali Wilayat.

FDO (formerly Oman Aquaculture Development Company SAOC) was until recently part of Oman Investment Fund (OIF), a sovereign wealth fund of the Sultanate, which together with other wealth funds and state-run investment funds and enterprises, has now been absorbed into the all-encompassing Oman Investment Authority (OIA) created by Royal Decree last week.

In a tweet, Fisheries Development Oman (FDO) said the shrimp farm will come up on an area spread over 200 hectares over the next 18 months.  It includes the construction of a hatchery, maturation ponds, and farm infrastructure. Output at full capacity is projected at 3,400 tons of shrimp annually.

The announcement was welcomed by the Implementation Support and Follow-up Unit (ISFU), a special task force set up under the auspices of the Diwan of Royal Court to oversee the speedy execution of projects and initiatives proposed under the landmark National Programme for Enhancing Economic Diversification (Tanfeedh).

ISFU has played a key role in facilitating the cumbersome licensing and permitting process, which is a prerequisite for getting any project of this nature speedily off the ground.

In fact, the Khuwaimah shrimp farm is one of four such aquaculture projects that were expedited by ISFU as part of its mandate. The biggest of these is envisioned at Barr al Hikman in Al Wusta Governorate. Investment in the first phase alone is estimated at RO 150 million with output estimated at 43,000 tons of Indian White Shrimp per annum.  Covering an area of around 8,000 hectares, it will emerge as one of the largest shrimp farms in the world.

Further south at Al Jazer, a similar Indian White Shrimp farm is planned for development with an investment of around RO 60 million.  Capacity of the mega farm is estimated at 17,600 tons per annum. Likewise, another shrimp farm is envisaged at Bentout in Wusta Governorate.

Fisheries Development Oman is also making sizable investments in pelagic fisheries and sea-based aquaculture farming.