MoAF con­ser­va­tion mea­sures help king­fish catch rise 75% in 2016

Min­istry en­forces an­nual two month ban from Au­gust 15

Muscat Daily - - NATION -

The Min­istry of Agri­cul­ture and Fish­eries’ (MoAF) 2014 de­ci­sion to im­pose ban on king­fish catch for two months has re­sulted in a 75.5 per cent in­crease in king­fish catch in 2016 over the pre­vi­ous year.

The min­istry has an­nounced that the ban will come into ef­fect from Au­gust 15 to October 15 to help spawn­ing.

The min­istry said that “the pro­duc­tion of king­fish in the sul­tanate dur­ing the year 2016 in­creased by 75.5 per cent com­pared to 2015, with an es­ti­mated pro­duc­tion of 7,007 tonnes and es­ti­mated value of RO18.4mn”.

As king­fish is a highly mi­gra­tory species, a re­gional strat­egy in­volv­ing GCC was ap­proved by the GCC Agri­cul­tural Co­op­er­a­tion Com­mit­tee at its 23rd meet­ing held at the head­quar­ters of the GCC Sec­re­tariat Gen­eral in Riyadh in 2012, to pro­tect the stock. As per its di­rec­tive, it was agreed by the GCC to en­force the ban from Au­gust 15 to October 15 ev­ery year start­ing from 2015.

The min­istry stated that the two-month ban aims to avoid de­ple­tion of such an im­por­tant fish, which is high in de­mand in the lo­cal mar­ket. It also re­duced pres­sure on the king­fish stock.

Var­i­ous stud­ies in Oman and the GCC have shown that the stock of king­fish is un­der heavy pres­sure in the re­gion, par­tic­u­larly in the cen­tral part of the Sea of Oman, where large quan­ti­ties of im­ma­ture and small-sized fish con­sti­tuted the catch be­fore the 2014 MoAF de­ci­sion which put curbs on min­i­mum size and na­ture of nets used apart from the two-month ban.

The de­ci­sion puts curbs on fish­ing of king­fish that is less than 65cm in length and stip­u­lates that the net fish­ing rope shouldn’t ex­ceed 2,400m and the net open­ing should be 95cm and the thread no less than 1mm.

The ban also in­cludes the sale, pur­chase, trans­porta­tion and ex­port of king­fish dur­ing the said pe­riod.

In­di­vid­u­als and com­pa­nies have to reg­is­ter their catch at the di­rec­torates of fish­eries at the end of the fish­ing sea­son.

A Sul­tan Qa­boos Univer­sity study con­ducted be­fore the min­istry put in re­stric­tions on catch size and fish­ing nets, re­vealed that the pop­u­la­tion of king­fish was un­der heavy fish­ing pres­sure, par­tic­u­larly in the cen­tral part of the Sea of Oman, where high pro­por­tions of im­ma­ture and small in­di­vid­u­als con­sti­tuted the catch as a con­se­quence of the fish­ing gear be­ing adapted to cap­ture them.

Pho­to­graph for il­lus­tra­tive pur­pose only

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