September 2019, Ja’alan Bani Buhassan, ONA: The shrimp fishing season is finally here in the Sultanate, according to Oman’s Ministry of Agriculture and Fisheries, and they’ve set the season to have begun in early September, expecting it to last for three months until November.
There are 12 shrimp species in the Sultanate, but only four species are fished using traditional nets, including white Indian shrimp, white shrimp, tiger prawns and dotted shrimp.
Shrimp fisheries are found in the water of Masirah Island, Wilayat of Mahout, the coastal areas of the Governorate of Al Wusta, along the coastal strip in the Governorate of South A’Sharqiyah
The shrimp is considered an economically important species and a high value fish resource in the Sultanate, while it has nutritional value and an increased demand in the local and international market.
The shrimp fishing in Oman is restricted to the artisanal fishing sector. This is to ensure the benefit of the people of coastal villages, where shrimp is being fished carefully, as well as to ensure the sustainability of the ecosystem in coastal areas, and to reduce over-fishing.
Juma Bin Saleh Al Kasbi, Director of the Fisheries Development Department in Ja’alan Bani Bu Hassan, said, “The fishery statistics indicate that the Sultanate’s production of artisanal shrimp fishing during the last season of 2018 reached to 1,062 tonnes, with an increase of 108% and amounted total value of RO. 9.3 million. About 126 tonnes out of the 1,062 tones have been exported aboard.”
The official statistics also showed that there has been an improvement in shrimp fishing in 2018 after a period of steady decline in past years, added Al Kasbi.
He noted that the Governorate of Al-Wusta ranked first in shrimp production, where it produced 72% of the total fishing during 2014-2018, followed by the Governorate Sharqiya South, which produced 24% of the total production of shrimp in Oman.
The shrimp fishing is carried out by small artisanal fishing boats (fiberglass) ranging in length from 4 to 5 meters. They fish by using traditional nets known as ‘Gul’, or ‘Al Tarhah’, which is a cone net made of cotton that can be thrown and pulled with a rope tied in the middle. The fishing net is surrounded by several heavy weights of bullets that drag it quickly down.