A partnership between Vale and the Ministry of Agriculture & Fisheries has resulted in an increase in marine life along the coast of Liwa. Conducted in coordination with local fishermen, 400 artificial reefs were installed in four different locations in the waters of Harmool, Al Ramliya and Nibr to enhance biodiversity and raise the number of fish in non-restricted fishing areas for commercial use.
The two-year project was divided into three stages to allow for constructive assessment and evaluation of its outcome. The artificial reefs were dropped in each of the four locations between the depths of 10 and 28 meters. In addition, four demarcation buoys equipped with solar powered navigation beacons were installed to mark the location around the Al Ylah Mountain to protect the existing natural reefs. Post assessments by the Ministry and local fishermen have indicated an increase in the quantities of fish caught which in turn has improved this important source of livelihood.
H.E. Dr. Hamed bin Said Al Oufi, Under-Secretary of the Ministry of Agriculture & Fisheries for the Wealth of Fisheries, explained, “In the past, fishermen built reefs out of basic materials such as rocks, tires and the barks of palm trees. Today, with the advancement of the industry, we have invested in the research and development of environmentally-friendly reefs, creating a reef management system that has allowed us to reduce pollution caused by these materials, especially in shallow waters. As part of our collaboration with the private sector, we signed a Memorandum of Understanding with Vale and have since dropped reefs and buoys in Liwa that have benefitted the community while also preserving the environment.”
Sergio Espeschit, Vale’s Chief Executive Officer in Oman, expressed, “We consider ourselves part of the North Al Batinah community and we work together to develop sustainable projects that generate in-country value. We are proud to contribute to the fisheries sector considering its importance to the national economy and local community.”
Local fisherman, Abdullah Rashid Al Maamari, said, “This project has supported us by increasing the fish reserves. With the buoys now marking locations along the coast, we can easily identify rich fishing sites as well as the areas where nets should not be thrown in order to protect natural marine life.”
An extension of Vale’s corporate social responsibility agenda in Oman, the fisheries project follows a string of initiatives that the company has undertaken over the years. Transforming its commitment to improving the quality of life of the communities where it operates into action, Vale has also contributed to the sustainable growth of North Al Batinah’s agriculture sector, engaged and empowered the youth and converted efforts into new prospects through volunteerism. The success of Vale’s sustainable projects are a result of working hand-in-hand with local communities to identify opportunities, utilize resources and adopt innovative initiatives to bring a brighter future to Oman.