FISH­ERIES SEC­TOR SHARE IN GDP GROWS TO 7.3%

Oman Daily Observer - - FRONT PAGE - SA­MUEL KUTTY MUS­CAT, SEPT 10

On the back of higher pro­duc­tion, the fish­eries sec­tor wit­nessed a rapid jump of 59 per cent in 2018.

The sec­tor con­trib­uted 7.3 per cent to the growth of GDP em­a­nat­ing from non-petroleum ac­tiv­i­ties dur­ing 2018.

How­ever, this is lower than an av­er­age of 15 per cent in the pre­vi­ous two years, ac­cord­ing to fig­ures in the 2018 an­nual re­port of the Cen­tral Bank of Oman.

“The rel­a­tive share of agri­cul­ture and fish­ing in the over­all GDP, how­ever, con­tin­ued to hover around 2 per cent, de­spite the no­tice­able growth in the last few years,” says the re­port.

The agri­cul­ture and fish­ing ac­tiv­i­ties grew at a de­cel­er­ated rate of 6.9 per cent in 2018 in com­par­i­son with an av­er­age of 9.3 per cent dur­ing the pre­ced­ing two years (2016-2017).

“The fish­ing sec­tor has im­mense po­ten­tial with large marine en­dow­ments of over 3,000-km long coast­line and ac­cord­ingly, the fish­ing has been in­cluded un­der the di­ver­si­fi­ca­tion pro­gramme (Tan­feedh),” points out the re­port by the apex bank.

The Ninth Five-year Plan (20162020) has set a tar­get of an av­er­age an­nual growth rate at 6.5 per cent for fish­ing ac­tiv­i­ties that would in­crease its share in GDP to 0.6 per cent by 2020. Ac­cord­ing to the an­nual re­port re­leased by the Im­ple­men­ta­tion, Sup­port and Fol­low-up Unit (ISFU), there are five agri­cul­tural projects and 12 fish­eries projects cur­rently pro­gress­ing in the Sul­tanate.

The 12 fish­eries and seafood projects in­clude farms in which to raise and har­vest fish and other seafood, as well as pro­cess­ing plants to make them ready for ex­port and pub­lic con­sump­tion.

Two of the big­gest projects are the Dho­far seafood can­ning plant and Al Wusta In­dus­trial Fish­eries.

The Dho­far Fish­eries and Food In­dus­tries, which is unique in the GCC, fo­cuses on can­ning tuna, sar­dines, fish meal, fish oil and other prod­ucts. At the same time, the Al Wusta In­dus­trial Fish­eries in­tends to op­er­ate in the small pe­lagic com­mer­cial fleet-line that will tar­get an un­fished species and start trial-fish­ing for a pe­riod of two years.

The fleet is ca­pa­ble of net­ting 100,000 tonnes per year from the avail­able 1.3 mil­lion tonnes, mak­ing a min­i­mal im­pact on the stock.

The five shrimp farms — Al Jazer, Bar Al Hik­man and Bentout, Quron and Khuwaima are ex­pected to de­liver 71,200 tonnes of shrimp per an­num. The Bentout Shrimp Farm is the first shrimp farm­ing project es­tab­lished in Oman, with the first har­vest ex­pected in 2021.

The rel­a­tive share of agri­cul­ture and fish­ing in the over­all GDP, how­ever, con­tin­ued to hover around 2 per cent, de­spite the no­tice­able growth in the last few years RE­PORT

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