Oman Fisheries preparing to launch commercial fishing operations

Oman Fisheries Company OFC, which is partly owned by the Omani government, says it will shortly commence commercial fishing operations with the planned acquisition of an industrial fishing vessel.
The trawler, suited for pelagic fishing, is proposed to be the first in a series of vessels that will form part of the company’s commercial fishing fleet, said Mohammed bin Hamad al Masrouri, Chairman of the Board of Directors.
“Oman Fisheries has tied up with a foreign company to purchase a pre-owned (refrigerated seawater) fitted industrial pelagic fishing vessel having a capacity of more than 200 MT, as a part of its initial commercial fishing operations. The vessel is due to arrive in Oman shortly, and with its addition, the fishing capacity of the company is expected to increase significantly. Further with the commercial catch, the products would command extra value, due to its freshness and on-time processing,” Al Masrouri stated in the Directors Report for the financial year ended December 31, 2018.
An industrial fishing fleet, equipped with sizable onboard refrigerated storage capacity, will enable OFC to target potentially abundant pelagic fish stocks, chiefly sardine, tuna, mackerel and hilsa, off the Sultanate’s Wusta and Dhofar coasts, according to the company.
In the initial stages of the commercial fisheries programme, freshly harvested pelagic fish will be exported in frozen firm, according to the company. Investments in processing and value-adding facilities are envisioned in subsequent stages of the project, with an integrated high-end processing plant planned further down the line. The entire programme is proposed to be fully out by 2021.
Significantly, the commercial fisheries initiative is one of four new Lines of Business (LoB) envisaged by OFC as part of an ongoing restructuring exercise designed to modernise the company, and ensure its profitability as a commercial enterprise.
It includes plans for a new seafood canning project focusing on sardine and tuna processing, with additional revenues coming from fish oil and fish meal processing activities. “(OFC), being the lead initiator in the project, has already contributed its initial share to the primary capital call and the primary setup of the unit is underway,” said the Chairman.
Furthermore, the company is studying the feasibility of establishing an ‘Integrated value-added plant’ and a corrugated carton manufacturing unit. Oman Food Investment Holding Company (OFIC), which is the government’s food sector investment arm, owns the government’s 24 per cent stake in Oman Fisheries Company.