Panel moots fish export ban

Sheikh Said Nasir al Hudhaibi, chairman of administration council of Omani Society for Consumer Protection (second left), Dr Rashid Salim al Masroori CEO of authority for stores and spare foods (third left) and Khalil Abdullah al Khonji, chairman of OCCI (third right), at the OCCI meeting on Sunday  

Muscat - 

A proposal to ban exports of four popular species of fish at certain times of the year to protect stocks and ensure Oman has enough for its domestic needs has been floated by the food security committee.

Increasingly under strain, the state of the sultanate's fish stocks has already spurred the Ministry of Fisheries to implement regional management programmes for key species such as king fish, tuna, hammour and shark.

Headed by the Minister of Commerce and Industry H E Maqbool bin Ali bin Sultan, the food security panel submitted the proposal to the country's cabinet, along with another plan to build new livestock and vegetable wholesale markets alongside the new fish market currently under construction in Barka.

Speaking after an Oman Chamber of Commerce and Industry (OCCI) round table discussion on the price of foodstuffs on Sunday, OCCI chairman Khalil Abdullah al Khonji told Muscat Daily that the ban will affect key species when there are shortages in the country's local markets.
He said, “We have a proposal of banning exports of four kinds of fish in certain months, but that needs cabinet approval. This has come out of the food security committee. It is a proposal and once it is enforced we hope that in certain times of the year we will ban fish exporting.
“As of now it is a proposal, four kinds of fish in certain months when there are shortages. There are definitely four kinds which the local market needs.” In a previous interview to Muscat Daily, Ibrahim al Busaidi, director general of fisheries development, Ministry of Fisheries, said programmes were going to be put in place to manage stocks of popular fish.

“King fish is quite a critical stock for us and it has been affected by the fishing regimes in the region. That is why we are working hard for a regional management programme here. We are also looking to do some management programmes for pelagic species such as grouper and shark.”

On Sunday, Khonji added that proposals are also in place to build new wholesale markets for vegetables and livestock alongside the new wholesale fish market being built in Barka on the new highway in a bid to drive food prices down.

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