FISHERIES

Oman 2019 | AGRICULTURE | B2B

Oman Aquaculture Development Company and Five Oceans LLC have crucial roles to play in Oman achieving its food security goals, especially its target of farming 200,000 tons of fish by 2040.

KHALID ALI AL YAHMADI
Chairman
Oman Aquaculture Development Company (OADC)
DAWOOD AL WAHAIBI
CEO
Five Oceans LLC

Why was OADC created, and how does it work with the Ministry of Agriculture and Fisheries?

KHALID ALI AL YAHMADI OADC established in late 2014, is the commercial vehicle put in place by the Oman Investment Fund and Ministry of Agriculture and Fisheries Wealth to drive the aquaculture sector in the country. The projects are funded by Oman Investment Fund with the objective of contributing to the Ministry of Agriculture and Fisheries Wealth target of farming 200,000 tons of fish by 2040. OADC is also the investment vehicle of Oman Investment Fund, set to drive the development of aquaculture infrastructure

How has Five Oceans developed since its creation?

DAWOOD AL WAHAIBI I registered Five Oceans in 2002 with two different departments. The first provides environment consultancy and advisory, and the second is related to fisheries, processing, and trading. In 2010, we split the company in two: Five Oceans Environmental Services and Five Oceans LLC. Five Oceans LLC holds a major technical capacity and works with aquaculture companies to help them grow and develop. We also have a production side. Within the last few years, we have increased our capacity by 100%. We used to produce 5,000 tons a year; however, now we are at 10,000-12,000 tons a year.

What infrastructure is needed for the aquaculture industry to grow?

KAAY A great deal of infrastructure is needed for investment in terms of genetic selection of brood stock, hatcheries and nurseries, feed mills, fish meal, and grow out farms. At present, Oman imports everything from India, Turkey, Greece, Thailand, Norway, and others. This comes at an extremely high risk, including transportation costs, as well as mortality and disease risks. At present, we are in the process of building a broodstock breeding center, hatcheries, nurseries, and a quarantine center at Oceanic Shrimp Aquaculture Co LLC. Another infrastructure problem we face is the feed side, which, combined with juveniles, makes almost 70-80% of the total cost. To counter that, we are setting up a feed plant.

How do you source your products and maintain quality?

DAW We are dependent on the day-to-day fishermen. Five Oceans works with a strict description of quality. We do not treat fish as a commodity but a food item. Quality is extremely important to us; we have EU as well as FDA certification. We are the only company that is audited by a third party. Our exports make up 85% of our production, which is due to our popularity.

What is the sea bream project and how has OADC built the knowledge base for such projects?

KAAY It is a project started by Blue Waters LLC, wherein we commenced operations in the seabream grow out farm in June of 2017 and started harvesting in May 2018. We sold more than 250 tons of sea bream during 2018 and the target annual capacity for this facility is 3,000 tons. This farm is one of four other farms that will be built by Blue Waters LLC over time. We are competing with Turkish and Greek companies but our advantage is that we get to the market faster with fresh fish. OADC and its subsidiaries have built a management team with significant expertise in farmed fish. The talent pool currently is a mixture from Oman, Mediterranean, Latin America, and Asia. In addition, we train our personnel in fish farming significantly to ensure transfer of expertise. For Blue Waters LLC, we have employed experts from Mediterranean, which is where seabream is historically farmed. We believe in partnerships and are open to them to help the local economy grow with us. Once we reach critical mass, we will build processing facilities.

What are your primary markets and products?

DAW Sardines make up more than 75% of our landing and shad, a sardine-like species, accounts for another 15% of our landing. We mainly export to Egypt, Qatar, and the UAE, but Thailand and Brazil are also major buyers.