Muscat: The fisheries sector in the Sultanate is still unable to supply adequate quantities of fish to the local markets even though many kinds of fish species are found in abundance in the Omani waters.
The Sultanate's total fish production amounted to 192,000 tonnes in 2012, an increase of 21 per cent over 2011.
Also, the total value of fish production reached more than OMR143 million, an increase of 16 per cent compared to 2011.
Oman's fish exports accounted for 61 per cent of the total production of about 117,000 tonnes, according to the annual 2012 report issued by the Ministry of Agriculture and Fisheries.
Meanwhile, a report published by the Ministry of Agriculture and Fisheries said that the total output from artisanal fishing was 188,817 tonnes in 2012, logging a 25 per cent increase when compared to 2011.
There were roughly 2,000 fishing vessels in Oman, most of these concentrated in South and North Sharqiyah governorate varying between five and nine metres in length.
There were 42,552 artisan fishers who contributed nearly 99 per cent of the total fish production in the Sultanate in 2012.
Rising fish prices have been a cause of worry for the consumers as they find it harder to afford buying fish. The government has come up with an extensive plan to develop the fisheries sector by implementing a variety of projects. The government plan aims to boost fish exports by properly evaluating fish stores and increasing the efficiency of the artisanal fishing fleet.
Dr Fuad bin Jaafar Al Sajwani, the Minister of Agriculture and Fisheries, said that this plan would cost the Sultanate more than OMR500 million, thus making it the largest such initiative in the history of this sector.
The Ministry of Agriculture and Fisheries has plans to develop the fish marketing sector by launching a project to set up fish-selling shops as part of the plan to diversify fish outlets.