Muscat: The six-month-long squid fishing season began in Oman with fishermen focusing on maximising their yield while also keeping in view the changing weather conditions in the sea and the difficulties it poses during this time of the year.
Ministry of Agriculture and Fisheries announced the onset of the squid fishing season in the country saying the time will be utilised in various governorates, particularly in South Al Sharqiya, Al Wusta and Dhofar, to enhance the squid yield.
The directorate generals of the fisheries in the Dhofar, Al Wusta and South Al Sharqiya governorates have made elaborate arrangements this year in view of the importance given to the season by professional fishermen who focus on squid due to its economic benefits.
In 2013, Oman exported 2,739 tonnes of squid worth OMR2,340,000 from a total yield of 6,355 tonnes. In 2011, the yield was 7,521 tonnes while in 2012, it was 6,530 tonnes, according to a report prepared by the ministry which indicated a dip in the yield of squid after 2011.
The ministry has also launched an awareness campaign to guide fishermen on how to follow the rules and regulations while fishing squid. A plan to monitor the fishing activity during this season is ready, according to the ministry.
Squid is found in various types of reefs and other such species in the sea. Some of these are found deep inside the water and some near the surface. Squid are found in the coastal areas of Al Sharqiya, Al Wusta and some wilayats of Dhofar governorate.
Some fishermen face difficulty while fishing for squid when there are high rise waves in the Arabian sea in these governorates and also when the temperature rises.
Many fishermen depend only on squid for their livelihood. All the male members of their families look for squid the entire year while their efforts multiply between August and January as this period is seen as the season for squid.
Hamad, a fisherman of Al Sharqiya who is the sole bread earner for nine members in the family, told Times of Oman that he appreciated the kind of concern being shown by the Ministry of Agriculture and Fisheries.
"We have to follow certain guidelines which are important for our safety in the sea. There are ministry's teams which keep visiting us and keep a guard so that there is no untoward incident while fishing in the sea," he said.
Rashid, a fisherman from Dhofar who has seven grandsons and granddaughters in the family to feed, said that this year the weather conditions in the sea would not be very conducive.
"This is why we have to take note of the government guidelines. Fishing squid has never been easy due to the conditions in the sea during this time of the year. But we do it as my fathers and grandfathers have been doing the same. We can't leave this family profession," he said.
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