Muscat: The sultanate's biggest fish processing firm, Oman Fisheries Company, is making available around 1,000 metric tonnes of frozen fish from its stocks to mitigate severe supply shortfalls during the crucial holy month of Ramadan.

According to the local daily, Oman Observer, the move is expected to bring some relief to consumers who have long complained of the soaring cost of their favourite dinnertime staple.

Supplies of fresh fish usually dry up during the hot summer months as fishermen stay away from increasingly choppy seas characteristic of the summer season in the sultanate.

The situation is even more acute this summer because summer coincides with the fasting month of Ramadan.

Acting in response to an appeal from the government, the partly state-owned Oman Fisheries agreed to keep the local market relatively well-supplied with frozen stocks of popular species such as kingfish, yellow fin tuna, sailfish, Emperor, trevally, long-tailed tuna and croaker.

The company has already opened outlets in the capital, while the regional markets are served through local private supermarkets and grocery stores. Mobile refrigerated vans are also stationed at key points in the capital.

Oman Fisheries' general manager Said Rashid Al Rawahy was quoted as saying that the company had anticipated a supply crunch this summer and decided to set up a contingency stockpile of around 1,500 tonnes of frozen fish.

A third of this stockpile has since been released on to local market, leaving about 1,000 tonnes still available for the remainder of Ramadan and the upcoming Eid holiday, he added.