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Oman: Fishing
Country Study > Chapter 4 > The Economy > Agriculture and Fishing > Fishing


Historically, fishing was second only to farming as an economic activity in pre-oil Oman. Both the Gulf of Oman and the Arabian Sea offer a variety of catch, including sardines, bluefish, mackerel, shark, tuna, abalone, lobsters, and oysters. Fishermen harvest their catch in the waters near the coast, using the traditional, small seagoing canoe, to which an outboard motor has been added.

The fishing sector (along with agriculture) is considered one of the most promising areas for commercial attention and accounts for the highest non-oil export revenue. However, sales in 1990 totaled RO17.3 million, dwarfed by oil export earnings of RO1.9 billion. The GCC provided the largest fish export market. The fishing sector also provided employment opportunities to 19,296 fishermen registered in 1990, of whom 18,546 were employed in traditional fisheries and 750 in industrial fisheries. Like agriculture, fishing has been affected by the diminishing number of people employed in the sector. As increasing numbers of fishermen turn to more remunerative employment, there has been a gradual decrease in the amount of fish caught.

The government has stressed modernizing and expanding the fishing industry and developing its export potential. The Joint United States-Oman Commission funded the Oman Fisheries Development and Management Project to strengthen the technical, administrative, and management skills of the Directorate General of Fisheries Resources (DGFR). In strengthening the DGFR, the government hopes to increase private-sector confidence in the fishing industry and, in the long term, to create private-sector- led development of the industry.

The government is following a dual strategy -- internally, to improve the capacity of the DGFR to manage Oman's fishing resources and, externally, to provide incentives for fishermen to remain in their occupations. The government provides subsidies to purchase fiberglass boats and outboard engines; to construct workshops, cold storage facilities, and jetties along the coastline; and to establish companies to market fish both domestically and internationally.

Data as of January 1993

Last Updated: January 1993

Editor's Note: Country Studies included here were published between 1988 and 1998. The Country study for Oman was first published in 1993. Where available, the data has been updated through 2008. The date at the bottom of each section will indicate the time period of the data. Information on some countries may no longer be up to date. See the "Research Completed" date at the beginning of each study on the Title Page or the "Data as of" date at the end of each section of text. This information is included due to its comprehensiveness and for historical purposes.

Note that current information from the CIA World Factbook, U.S. Department of State Background Notes, Australia's Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade Country Briefs, the UK's Foreign and Commonwealth Office's Country Profiles, and the World Bank can be found on

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