Earlier this year the Omani government announced US$1.3bn of new investment in its fisheries. Currently Oman's fishing industry nets 200,000 tonnes of seafood a year, generating US$960m a year.
The new investment will see Oman build nine new fishery harbours, to bring the total number of ports to 30, under-secretary for fisheries wealth Dr Hamed Al Aufi, told the Oman Economic Forum earlier this month. Three of the new ports are currently out for tender, he said.
Revenue and jobs
The revenue projections for the fisheries industry include direct income as well as indirect benefits in subsidiary industries, according to Al Aufi. He said the Omani fisheries industry currently provided direct or indirect employment to around 40,000 Omanis, and the new investment would aim to create half as many jobs again by 2020.
“The objective of the National Fisheries Development Strategy is to enhance the fisheries sector's contribution to the GDP as well as generate employment opportunities for Omanis. Our aim is to boost fisheries production from the present roughly 200,000 tonnes per year to around 480,000 tonnes by 2020, as well as to generate 20,000 additional jobs during this period,” said Al Aufi at the forum.
Along with the new ports, Oman will also be investing in its fishing fleet, processing facilities and aquaculture industry, along with a new wholesale fish market and regional fish souqs. It will also look to boost its export market for seafood.
“This strategy provides a model for a partnership between the public and private sectors. The government is keen to play its part in this partnership by investing in infrastructure between 2014 and 2020, which we hope will pave the way for the private sector to step in thereafter,” Al Aufi said.
“Once we achieve our goal of accelerating growth in the industry, we hope to begin privatising some elements of the sector,” he added.
The GCC has seen major investments in fisheries recently, as a result of growing demand and increasingly variable catches. Saudi Arabia announced a US$10.6bn investment programme in recent months, while the UAE saw the opening of the largest fish-farm in the world.