Oman Pelagic $250mn-plan includes more vessels and factory in Duqm

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هذه الصفحة متوفرة بهذه اللغة: العربية

29 July 2020

MUSCAT (WAF): State-owned al-Wusta Fisheries Industries Company is planning to expand its fleet and operations over the next three to five years, by raising $ 250 million, Dawood al-Wahaibi, CEO of al-Wusta Fisheries told WAF News in an interview.

The Company, also known as Oman Pelagic Company, started operations in March 2019. By the end of 2019, the Company was in operational profit.

Al-Wusta’s sales until the first have of 2020 stood at $40 million, and by the end of the second operational year the sales will be valued at more than $50 million, al-Wahaibi said.

In its first year of operation, the Company’s production reached 19,000 tons of fish, compared to preliminary estimates of 17,500 tons in the first year of operations, with estimates for this year’s production reaching 30,000 tons.

The top five importers of al-Wusta’s catch are Cote de Vore with 38%, followed by Cameroon with 24.6%, Benin with 14%, Egypt with 11.9%, and Nigeria with 4.5%:

Al-Wusta Fisheries products in 11 markets

Plans to grow:

The Company aims to reach an annual production of 100 thousand tons in 2023, and then gradually reach 200 thousand tons annually after building the factory in Duqm and adding other ships to the fleet in 2024.

Al-Wusta Fisheries owns three commercial fishing vessels for small pelagics, namely Victoria, Gloria and Jawharat al-Wusta (Jewell of al-Wusta). “The initial estimates valued four fishing vessels for $100-150 million, but we now own three vessels for less than $60 million,” al-Wahaibi told WAF.

The Company’s expansion plan over the next three to five years includes adding to vessels for large pelagics, especially Tuna. Building the two new vessels will begin before the end of 2020, and will join the fleet’s operations by 2024.

Dawood al-Wahaibi: We are focusing on balancing commercial profits and preserving and sustaining the biomass

As part of the value-adding goals, al-Wustay Fisheries is also planning a processing plant in Duqm with an initial capacity of 700 tons per day, and will gradually increase to 1,000 tons per day. The Company’s preliminary estimate indicates an investment value of $30 million. 

The Company is also focusing on research and new technologies to increase production and efficiency of its fleet.

With plans worth $250 million, al-Wahaibi stressed that the Company will not be relying on the ministry of finance for funding, but will be borrowing directly. “The Company’s financial model is that the government provides a simple initial investment (seed money), then the Company relies on its assets and operations to secure the necessary funding based on a borrowing plan,” he added.

Al-Wehaibi said that a proposal to establish a company to operate fishing ports had received approval from the concerned authorities. He added that the proposed company will work on modernising and raising the efficiency of fishing ports in the Sultanate to enhance the sector’s contribution to GDP.

Preserving the biomass:

Research and surveys back the Company’s fishing operations on the pelagic biomass that date back to 1983, and studies confirm these finding as recent as 2009.

“We are focusing on balancing commercial profits and preserving and sustaining the biomass,” said the CEO. He explained that the recommended fishing level shouldn’t exceed 25% of the estimated stock. 

Estimates of studies conducted in the Arabian Sea and the Indian Ocean reach 250,000 tons of pelagics Oman can safely harvest without damaging the sustainability of the biomass. A quantity valued at $ 170 million annually as per al-Wusta Fisheries Industries.