Lobster fishing season kicks off in Oman

Muscat: Oman’s lobster fishing season for 2018 started this month off the Sultanate’s southeastern seaboards in the governorates of Dhofar, Al Wusta and South A’Sharqiyah. It continues till the end of April.

The lobster fishing season is of economic and social importance for the regions’ fishermen, Salim Al Araimi, director of fishing department of South Sharqiyah governorate, said.

“During the 2017 season, there were positive economic indicators in terms of quantity and sizes of [lobsters] and fish that were caught,” he said.

Oman exported 98 tonnes to the UAE, Saudi Arabia, Qatar and some Asian and European countries in 2017.

He told Oman News Agency the Sultanate’s lobster production during the 2017 season was 464 tons, according to statistics of the Ministry of Agriculture and Fisheries, while in 2016 it was 430 tons, an increase of 8 per cent.

The Governorate of Dhofar came first with 329 tons, followed by South A’Sharqiyah with 67 tons, and Al Wusta with 59 tons of lobsters.

The price of one kilogramme ranges between 3.5 riyals (Dh33.40) to 5 riyals, a decent amount for most fishermen who make 500-700 riyals a month on average. Around 20,000 Omanis work in the fishing sector, according to the Ministry’s figures

Meanwhile, the requested traditional fishermen to comply with the permitted fishing methods in the waters of the Sultanate in March and April, and to avoid fishing egg-laden lobsters, as well as lobsters that are less than 8cm in length.

The ministry is doing more to regulate work during the season to uphold the Maritime Fishing Law with the cooperation of the fishermen.

Lobster is one of the largest marine resources in the Sultanate, and has great nutritional value. It is a major source of protein, rich in potassium, zinc, and iron, and contains good amounts of calcium and magnesium.

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