The three projects, valued at RO66mn, are expected to produce about 7,330 tonnes of seafood annually, which will dwarf the current aquaculture production totalling a minuscule 353 tonnes (2013).
The ministry signed the first usufruct agreement with Arabian Marine Development Company to set up an RO29mn integrated shrimp and sea cucumber farm and a township in Qurun in Ras Jibsh, South Sharqiyah spread over 500ha.
The second usufruct agreement was signed with Al Jazeera Investment Company to set up abalone and grouper fish farming project in the niyabat of Sharbathat in the wilayat of Shaleem and Al Halaniyat Islands in Dhofar. The project worth RO34.5mn will be spread over 30ha.
Also, Knowledge Modern Technologies Company received a technical licence which allows it to start production of grouper fish in the Sur Industrial Area in South Sharqiyah at a cost of RO2.5mn.
H E Sheikh Saif bin Mohammed al Shabibi, Minister of Housing, said that the aim is to ensure food security, diversify sources of income and utilise the country’s natural resources.
H E Dr Fuad bin Jaafar bin Mohammed al Sajwani, Minister of Agriculture and Fisheries, said that the three projects will lead to production of an estimated 7,330 tonnes of seafood, such as shrimps, grouper fish and abalone. The projects will also provide more than 800 job opportunities to citizens. He added that the agreements are aimed at developing the aquaculture sector in collaboration with different government organisations, such as the Ministry of Housing.
H E Dr Sajwani said that the projects will contribute to the economic development of local communities. "About 19 aquaculture projects have met the requirements and are ready to invest in the fisheries sector."
Adnan bin Salah al Ghassani, business development manager at Al Jazeera Investment Company said that the project in Dhofar will produce about 1,500 tonnes of grouper and 1,000 tonnes of abalone every year. “It will meet needs of the local market and the rest will be for export.
"The construction may take up to one and a half years from the date of laying the foundation stone, which is expected to take place in the middle of this year."
Qasim bin Mohammed al Shizawi, a member of the board of directors of Arabian Marine Deployment, said that the project will produce 4,500 tonnes of seafood annually and create 500 jobs.
With inputs from ONA