Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Woohoo! Ban lifted on abalone fishing in Dhofar!

Sooo... I was really pleased to see this in the newspaper a couple of days ago. Abalone means a lot to us Dhofaris. It may be expensive (despite what the newspaper says, I've watched people sell one kilo for 100 OMR) but it really is a treat.

Muscat Daily - 3/10/2011
The three-year ban on abalone fishing in the country has been lifted. With the decision, the Ministry of Agriculture and Fisheries (MoAF) has once again allowed harvesting, selling and exporting of abalone, a shellfish that commands good prices in the Far East.
Before the ban was enforced, abalone fishing was a strictly regulated activity and permitted only in November and December, when the mollusc was thought to be fully grown. But with the new rules, the fishing season has been restricted to less than a month. “The ban is over, but fishing is allowed only from October 20 to November 15,” said an MoAF official.
With the highest yield per kilo among all Omani fisheries products, abalone was targetted by local fishermen using free diving methods, leading to a sharp decline in catch. Over-exploitation of the species’ habitat was also reported, resulting in an overall decline in population.
To check over-exploitation and streamline fishing activity, the new rules prohibit catching abalone with a shell less than 90mm long. Catching the species from a depth of less than three metres is also not allowed. Other regulations include a prohibition on possessing, selling, purchasing, transporting or exporting abalone during the ban period. Fishermen and companies dealing in abalone need to register their catch with the ministry within 15 days of the end of the season.

The use of diving gear like oxygen cylinders and spotlights is also not allowed for fishing. Fishermen can only catch abalone during the daytime, with fishing between sunset and sunrise prohibited. To preserve the habitat, they cannot overturn rocks in the process of fishing.
Abundant in the Dhofar regi-on, mostly in Mirbat and Sadah, abalone sells for as much as RO60 a kilo when dried and exported to international markets. Most fishermen who depended largely on abalone because of the high returns had to turn to other avenues when the ban was put in place.
“The new regulations allot priority to fishermen from Mirbat, Sadah, Shalim and Halaniyat Islands, where abalone is concentrated. While new licences are available to fishermen from these areas, others interested in fishing abalone should have had a licence issued before the new regulations were passed,” said the official.


  1. Can you tell me where we can buy it in Muscat?

  2. It's the most delicious thing in Salalah ^-^

  3. Never tried it and would now love to... I second a comment above - any idea how we can obtain it in Muscat (for a not-too-extortionate price!)?

  4. Had some in Japan a few weeks ago. First time for me, and I was kinda....puzzled. What's the big deal ? It tastes like calamari but without the flavour ???