Posted by on October 29, 2006 at 12:10:15:|
SALALAH — The season to catch Al Sufailah or abalone as is internationally known — considered one of the natural resources of which some of the Omani coastal areas are rich — commenced in Dhofar Governorate here yesterday.
Abalone is available in the Omani waters and is concentrated at the coastal strip of Dhofar Governorate in the area between the wilayat of Mirbat and Sharbathat in particular. It is one of the famous international seafoods, costing RO50 per kilogram.
Last year, production of the abalone in Dhofar Governorate accounted for 50 tonnes. The abundancy of abalone in the Sultanate was attributed to concentration of water outflow phenomenon in this area, i.e., vertical deep water movement and gushing process, resulting from the southeastern seasonal winds, to the surface. These waters contain significant quantities of micro foodstuff.
The Ministry of Agriculture and Fisheries is providing good efforts to protect this marine wealth from extinction. In this connection, the ministry had fixed specific timing during the year to catch abalone while the remaining period of the year was specified for breeding. Also, the ministry had banned the catch of abalone with a shell diameter less than 9cm.
Studies suggest that abalone could live for 10 years, while its shell reaches 18cm. Abalone, which is feeding on algae and sea grass, is located at rock beds.
Though abalone is located in the coastal area, stretching from the wilayat of Mirbat to Sharbathat area in the wilayat of Shaleem and Al Halaniyat islands, most of the production is concentrated in Hadbeen area in the wilayat of Sadah. Abalone activities, nutrition movement and breeding is carried during night time. A great deal of Omani citizens are working in abalone catching. Divers need to dive 10 metres down to the seabed to catch the abalone. Fishermen use a knife-like tool and basket tied to their waste to strip off the abalone shell normally attached to the rocks. Oxygen cylinders and modern equipment are not permitted in abalone catching in order to safeguard the catch. — ONA