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Omani government seeks investments in fisheries and aquaculture

Duqm in the central-eastern region of Oman. (Photo: Dr. Blofeld/CC BY-SA 2.0)

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Tuesday, January 27, 2015, 00:40 (GMT + 9)
The Government of Oman seeks to encourage foreign investment in the port city of Duqm, currently under development, where there is a wide range of business opportunities in the fishing industry, it states. 
The Special Economic Zone Authority at Duqm (SEZAD) project encompasses a residential zone, the central business district, the industrial zone, seaport, dry dock, tourism zone, the education and training zone and logistics.
Regarding the fishing activity, it will include a research centre, a training centre, an international standards and quality assurance centre and modern handling and cold storage facilities.
Ministry of Agriculture and Fisheries announced the construction of a fishing harbour in Duqm as part of the plan, which will be the largest in Oman and is expected to be completed in 2016. It is now at the tender evaluation stage, Times of Oman reported.
The government has proposed several areas for private sector investment in the fisheries sector, including value addition in fisheries products, certified fish seed breeding facilities to avail quality seed to fish farmers, fish feed industry and fishing gear and equipment industry.
According to Zahida Mohammed Kohi, head of the promotion department at SEZAD, the government will invest around OMR 600 million (USD 1.55 billion) in infrastructure, fleet development and other services to ensure accelerated growth in the fishing industry, with a calculated direct economic return of OMR 369.6 million (USD 960 million) by 2020.
At the moment, there are 21 operating fishing ports, three under construction, three in tendering process, and six at the design stage.
In line with the plan, the Ministry of Housing has signed three pacts to expand aquaculture production in the country.
The first usufruct agreement is with Arabian Marine Development Company to build an OMR 29 million (USD 75.3 million) integrated shrimp and sea cucumber farm in Qurun in Ras Jibsh, South Sharqiyah.
Qasim bin Mohammed al Shizawi, a member of the board of directors of the firm said the development will produce 4,500 tonnes of seafood annually and will contribute with 500 jobs.
The second usufruct agreement was signed with Al Jazeera Investment Company to carry out an abalone and grouper fish farming project in Sharbathat, province of Shaleem and Al Halaniyat Islands in Dhofar. The project is worth OMR 34.5 million (USD 89.6 million).
Adnan bin Salah al Ghassani, business development manager at Al Jazeera said that the project will produce about 1,500 tonnes of grouper and 1,000 tonnes of abalone annually. The harvests will aim at meeting the needs of the local market and the rest will be for export, the Muscat Daily informed.
Meanwhile, Knowledge Modern Technologies Company received a license allowing the company to produce grouper fish in the Sur Industrial Area in South Sharqiyah, with an investment of OMR 2.5 million (USD 6.9 million).
The Ministry of Agriculture and Fisheries hopes these initiatives will increase production to an estimated 7,330 tonnes of seafood, such as shrimps, grouper fish and abalone, providing work to more than 800 people. 

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