Fisheries & Aquaculture News

Project for Brown Mussels Farming Begins in Dhofar

In an effort to increase fish production and advance food security, the Ministry of Agriculture, Fisheries and Water Resources has inaugurated a pioneering pilot project dedicated to farm brown mussels in Dhofar.

Salim Ahmed al Ghassani, Director of Dhofar Fisheries Research Centre, told Muscat Daily, “Our new endeavor, the Brown Mussels Culture Project, is centered around studying growing mussels in Taqah and Mirbat.” The initiative, supported by the Agriculture and Fisheries Development Fund, kicked off in March 2022 and will continue till March 2024.

Elaborating on the project, Ghassani said, “Our research team has conducted experiments in four distinct areas of Taqah and Mirbat, utilizing the long-line culture system, to gauge the growth rate of these cultured brown mussels.”

Highlighting the natural presence of this species, he said, “Mussel habitats stretch from Dhalkut to Sharbithat in Dhofar. We’ve undertaken comprehensive field surveys to pinpoint the distribution and prevalence of these mussels.”

Delving deeper into the species’ significance, Ghassani said, “The brown mussel—Perna perna and locally known as ‘fethek’ or ‘fathik’—are found on the shores of Oman, especially from South Sharqiyah to Dhofar. Considered a delicacy, particularly in Dhofar, these mussels not only satiate palates but also fortify diets with protein, vital vitamins, and essential fatty acids like Omega-3.”

Detailing the farming process, he said, “Typically, mussels and other bivalves are farmed using seeds or juveniles, either sourced from specialized hatcheries or extracted from natural habitats with spat collectors. Once collected, these seeds, measuring around 2.5-3 cm, are fastened to ropes suspended from primary ropes buoyed by floats. The juvenile mussels are nurtured in the sea until they attain a marketable size of approximately 6-7 cm.”

The research project’s objectives, he informed, include studying the distribution of mussel beds along Dhofar’s coast, analyzing monthly growth rates, determining the duration to attain market-ready size, and refining farming methods.

“As Oman positions itself at the forefront of sustainable fisheries, such ventures underscore its commitment to a thriving and self-sufficient seafood industry.”


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