(MENAFN - Muscat Daily) Looking at the threats to abalone stocks in Omani waters, the Ministry of Agriculture and Fisheries (MoAF) recently undertook a month-long survey aimed at taking sustained measures to preserve rare and endangered marine species.
MoAF studies have revealed that abalone stocks in the sultanate have decreased significantly and reached a critical stage due to overfishing and other factors. The latest survey along some coastal areas was carried out to better understand the situation and prevent overfishing, a spokesperson of the ministry said.
Eng Mohammed bin Abdulrahman bin Salem, director of the Fisheries Research Centre in Dhofar said the survey was mainly undertaken at sites in Mirbat and Sadah in association with the Directorate General of Fisheries in the governorate.
Similar surveys have been conducted in 2005, 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012 and 2013.
He said scientific methods were used to determine their size, gender and grouping patterns, the areas of their population and the environment best suited for their growth. The survey will help MoAF know how much stock is now available for fishing.
He said due to increasing global demand for abalone, especially from East Asian countries, fishing has increased considerably in the country, affecting stocks of the shellfish in Sea of Oman, adding that concrete measures are needed to arrest the decline.
Abalone is an important economic resource for Omani fishermen and the stocks found in the sultanate's water are said to have high nutritional value.
The 2005 survey showed a considerable decline in abalone stocks.
Another that followed showed that population density was less than the minimum required for successful fertilisation. Following these worrying results, a decision was taken to ban abalone fishing for three seasons from 2008 to 2010, Eng Salem said.