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Sea-floor trawling not allowed in Oman, ministry says

Video on social media platforms are from outside Omani waters, ministry says

Image Credit: Twitter
Oman was the first Gulf state to ban sea-floor trawling.
Gulf News

Muscat: Oman does not allow sea-floor trawling in its waters, the Ministry of Agriculture and Fisheries has clarified.

The Ministry was responding to a video doing the rounds on social media platforms where a fishing trawler is shown pulling hundreds of fish into a vessel. Sea-floor trawling is a technique where heavy nets are dragged across the sea floor to maximise fish catch.

Stating that the “video was taken outside Omani territorial waters,” an official at the Ministry of Agriculture and Fisheries told Gulf News that patrol planes of Royal Air Forces monitor and report all suspicious fishing in the Omani waters.

The official also called on all the Omani fishermen to report any suspicious cases of fishing on the toll-free number 11999.

Oman was the first Gulf state to ban sea-floor trawling. The ban was announced through a Royal Decree in June 2011. The official explained that the decision was taken to improve the stock of demersal in Omani waters and give traditional fishermen an advantage over industrial fishery.

Ahmad Al Hasni, a local fisherman in the capital Muscat, said that banning of bottom trawling was a great relief for Omani fishermen.

“When trawling was allowed, I used to spend hours and hours in the sea and end up buying fish from the market. Things are better for fishermen now,” he said

Meanwhile, the fishing sector had contributed more than 200 million riyals in 2016 to the GDP, compared to 182 million riyals in 2015, a 12 per cent growth.

The total fish production increased from 284,000 tonnes in 2015, to 290,000 tonnes in 2016.