OMAN - The Ministry of Agriculture and Fisheries (MoAF) has withdrawn licences awarded to six companies for delay in starting aquaculture projects.
A senior official in the ministry said that one of the reasons why it took action against the companies was lack of capital and funding needed for the projects, noting that it will again put up these sites for investments in order to ensure the implementation of aquaculture vision, reports MuscatDaily.
It is estimated that the project will help fish production to reach 220,000 tonnes by 2030. The official informed that two investor licences were withdrawn for projects in Quriyat and Khasab involving use of floating sea cages.
While two licences for shrimp farming projects were withdrawn in Jaalan Bani Bu Ali as a result of inability of investors to begin work, one licence each was cancelled in Sur Industrial Area and Suwaiq due to lack of funding.
However, there are some who complain of lag in response and processing from the authorities. A UAE-based company which was looking to invest in a coastal shrimp farm project said that “things were unfortunately very slow. Decisions are either delayed or not very responsive”.
The company said: “We were offered only 12.5 per cent of the area we applied for, which is not logically ideal and not sustainable for large projects in the rough coastline of Oman.”
The company had plans to introduce open ocean aquaculture and said that the plan was sustainable, feasible and would have contributed tremendously to the food security of the region, without affecting the ecosystem.
“However the response from the government is very cautious and lacklustre. It is very important for the region to have natural food production increased by sustainable means,” an official at the company said.
He however added that current financial situation is not helping the aquaculture sector. “The economic situation has furthered the delay which is already existing.”
TheFishSite News Desk