Oman


Artificial reefs at The Wave, Muscat attract new marine species


The project has introduced 60 triangular concrete modules on a 2 km stretch of seabed between Seeb and Bausher to create an artificial reef effect. Photo: Supplied

Muscat: The manmade reef project at The Wave, Muscat, Oman's lifestyle and leisure destination, has shown substantial progress in its five months, growing significantly in size and biodiversity.

The latest reports have shown advancement in the man-made reefs, a project which is not only attracting new species but also encouraging marine life to the reefs' surrounding area.

Launched towards the end of December 2014 in partnership with the Ministry of Agriculture and Fisheries, the project has introduced 60 triangular concrete modules to 2km of seabed between Seeb and Bausher to create an artificial reef effect.

Each unit, known as the 'Arabian Pyramid', measures 2.5 metres in length and width and 1.9 metres in height, is expected to grow in mass as more species colonise the structure.

Hawazen Esber, CEO of The Wave, Muscat commented: "This project is the first of its kind in Oman and symbolises The Wave, Muscat's commitment to the country's environmental, social and economic development. Our deeply rooted belief in the importance of supporting local communities has led to the selection of the wilayats of Seeb and Bausher as both of these lacked ocean habitat. They are set to benefit from the increased marine life as the surface area of the reef increases and more species move into the area."

Ahmed bin Mohammed Al Mazroui, director-general of Fisheries at the Ministry of Agriculture and Fisheries, said: "The development of aquatic life is already ahead of schedule and shows that we have achieved the level of growth usually expected after six months. The flora and fauna living on the artificial reefs will support an evolving food chain and promote sustainable growth in these areas, which, in turn, will lead to larger catches and positively impact local fishing industries."

He added, "Fisheries activity is facing various challenges, especially in the narrow coastal zone. Thus, we look forward to the artificial reef to increase fish harvesting in the Sultanate which has been in decline. The establishment of an artificial reef will help increase the level of marine life in our seas as well as provide valuable data to monitor fish populations and breeding patterns. The reef will lead to an ocean revival, transforming a previously-barren seabed into a thriving underwater community and develop Oman's sustainable fishery resources while accomplishing the planned partnership between government and private sector institutions."

Ryan Paik, general manager of Haejoo Oman Branch, said: "Our initiatives start with a strategic site survey to investigate the site condition and target various species of fish. Based on these findings, we introduced a custom-made purpose-built artificial reef that occupies over 4,000 square metres that offers an ideal breeding ground for fish and other marine creatures for over 40 years. The modules have been designed specifically for the underwater terrain in Oman to develop into a marine farm that will boost fisheries biomass."

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