Aquaculture offshore cages on the coast. (Photo: KZO Sea Farms)
Fish farming would lift national economy: aquaculture expert
Wednesday, May 04, 2011, 15:20 (GMT + 9)
An aquaculture company owner is encouraging Oman officials to delve into marine aquaculture along the country’s extensive coastline to boost the national economy.
Entrepreneur and President of KZO Sea Farms Phil Cruver believes Oman has great chances of succeeding through marine aquaculture. He plans to raise cobia in offshore cages on the coast.
“It would provide growth opportunity in the fastest growing global food industry while at the same time it would resuscitate local fish stocks to revive the livelihoods of fisher folks in coastal communities,” Phil said.
Oman’s fisheries sector is now its second source of revenue but lags far behind the oil and gas industry. Proper planning and hefty investments, though, would fix the currently problem of fisheries’ lack of solid infrastructure and modern technologies, reports Times of Oman.
“There is a strong commitment from the government to develop this sector in a competitive and sustainable manner in harmony with the social, economic, cultural and historic values of the country. Recently, the 200-mi exclusive economic zone (EEZ), extending seaward into the Gulf of Oman and Arabian Sea, is a promising valuable resource for diversifying and augmenting Oman’s oil-based economy,” Phil highlighted.
|Aquaculture offshore cages on the coast. (Image: KZO Sea Farms)
While the fisheries sector is anticipated to add around 2 per cent to the Gross National Product by 2020 versus 0.6 per cent in 2000, the current average annual catch of around 160,000 tonnes is miniscule compared to the estimated marine resources of 5 million tonnes. Further, the industry serves to sustain the community structure and provide a livelihood to more than 200,000 people across Oman.
Marine aquaculture allows for adapting the harvest to meet demand and ensuring the right size, quality and volume of the fish, lowering production costs and yielding higher profits, Phil told.
So far, Oman has not taken advantage of its coastline for aquaculture because of the area’s vulnerability to Harmful Algal Blooms (HABs), which kill marine life, he noted.
“KZO Sea Farms has a solution with submersible Open Ocean cages which can be lowered below the growth threshold of toxic HABs or moved to protect the farmed marine crops. The cages can also be submerged to avoid cyclones and devastation from oil spills,” Phil underlined.
By Natalia Real