Ministry of Agriculture and Fisheries extends ban on issuing artificial reef licence for 5 years

Muscat - 

H E Dr Fuad bin Ja’afar bin Mohammed al Sajwani, Minister of Agriculture and Fisheries, has extended the ban on issuing licences for construction of artificial reefs for five years. The Ministry of Agriculture and Fisheries (MoAF) had earlier suspended issuing licences for a year. The move is based on Ministerial Decision No 285/2017.

The decision is based on the Marine Fishing Law and Protection of Living Aquatic Resources issued by Royal Decree 53/81.

Dr Hussein al Maskati, director, Development and Management of Fish Resources at MoAF, said the ban has been imposed keeping in mind the safety of marine resources.

“To build artificial reefs, most of the fishermen throw building waste and other harmful things into the sea, which although temporarily help grow coral and attract a lot of fish, but are harmful to the marine environment. Secondly, the ministry aims to prevent disputes that arise between fishermen who demarcate fishing areas for themselves in the sea after establishing reefs. This will help organise the sector in a better way.”

Meanwhile, MoAF has started to establish one of the largest farms for artificial reefs over an area of 20km in Suwaiq, said Dr Maskati.

He added, “In the past, the ministry had established thousands of artificial reefs to boost marine life and income of fishermen in the area, so that they can raise their standard of living.”

Many artificial reefs have also been built along the coasts of the country by some private companies in North and South Batinah, South Sharqiyah and Muscat as part of corporate social responsibility.

Dr Maskati urges fishermen to choose right fishing methods in order to preserve the marine environment. Artificial reefs are also great tourist sites that are of particular interest to divers.

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