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  1. Profile
    1. Basic legislation
    2. Legal definition
    3. Guidelines and codes of conduct
    4. International arrangements
  2. Planning
    1. Authorization system
    2. Access to land and water
    3. EIA
  3. Operation
    1. Water and wastewater
    2. Fish movement
    3. Disease control
    4. Drugs
    5. Feed
  4. Food safety
    1. Miscellaneous
      1. References
        1. Legislation
        2. Related resources
      2. Related links
        Profile
        Basic legislation
        The Government of Oman realized the importance of the regulations and rules for sustainable development of aquaculture. Unregulated and uncontrolled aquaculture sector will lead to many environmental, economical and social problems. The law of fisheries and protection of living aquatic resources issued by Royal Decree No. 59/1993 is the current piece of legislation governing fisheries and aquatic activities. It contains different chapters covering different issues such as definitions and general provisions, regulating of fishing, protection and development, marketing and processing, fees and penalties and general rules.

        In addition to the fisheries law, the main legislations that have implication for aquaculture include, different executive by-laws which issued to enhance the implementation of it such as Fish quality control by-law (Ministerial Decision - MD 136/1998), By-law for aquaculture and quality control of the cultured organisms (MD 177/2012).

        The Ministry of Agriculture & Fisheries (MAF) serves as the competent national authorities responsible for all related matters. The Directorate of Aquaculture Development in the Ministry is the main department responsible for aquaculture development and management and coordinates the works regarding the aquaculture between different departments as well as other departments in other government agencies for aquaculture issues.
        Legal definition
        The law of fisheries and protection of living resources defines Aquaculture as ”Rearing and breeding of aquatic farmed species within a specific aqueous framework that can be controlled, either in the sea or somewhere else.”
        Guidelines and codes of conduct
        There is code of conducts and procedures adopted by the Ministry of Agriculture & Fisheries (MAF) for the fish processing plants in order to get Quality Control number that allow them to export to European Union. In aquaculture, MAF prepared a document entitled "better management practices for Omani Aquaculture" which contains highlights of some better practices in different field of aquaculture.
        International arrangements
        The Government of Oman considers the importance of joining the international organizations for development of different sectors by sharing the experience with other countries and gets the experience of others. In relation to fisheries sector, Oman is member of:
        • Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nation (FAO).
        • Arabic Organization for Agriculture Development.
        • Indian Ocean Rim Association for Regional Cooperation (IOR-ARC) and its Fisheries Support Unit (FSU).
        • Regional Commission of Fisheries (RECOFI).
        • World Animal Health Organization (OIE).
        • Regional Organization for Protection of Marine Environment (ROPME).
        • The United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea.
        • The Basel Convention on the Transboundary Movement of Hazardous Wastes and their Disposal.
        • The World Trade Organization (WTO).
        Oman is a party to:
        • The Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD). It signs the convention on 10/6/1992 and joined in 7/12/1994.
        • The Cartagena Protocol on Biosafety (CPB).
        • The United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS).
        • RAMSAR Convention.
        Planning
        Authorization system
        Aquaculture activity requires permission in Oman. The competent authority issues permission in accordance with the procedures set in the aquaculture by-law. In general, the company want to invest in aquaculture should submit its application to the Competent Authority (Directorate of Aquaculture Development, Ministry of Agriculture & Fisheries) using the relevant prescribed form. The application should contain the following information as stipulated on the Article (33) of Aquaculture By-law:
        1. The proposed project site and its area indicating the province / state / location coordinates.
        2. Type of aquaculture products to be cultured, its source and quantity.
        3. The expected starting date of the project, duration and cost.
        4. Justification of financial and technical capacity to implement the project.
        5. Identify the aquaculture system that will be used.
        6. Data showing the water quality including the nature, quantity and source of water that will be used in the project and the way of discharging it, if the project is land sited.
        7. A brief on the project and how it will be manage it.
        8. Flow chart of the project components and production stages.
        9. Statements of the company or enterprise.
        10. Any other data determined by the competent authority.
        The application is technically evaluated by the technical committee which includes experts from Directorate of Aquaculture Development, Aquaculture Centre, Fish Quality Control Centre and Water Resources Management Centre. The evaluation process is based on the technical and financial ability of the company. It also based on the social responsibility of the project. This technical committee raises its comments to the main Aquaculture Committee for final decision. This main Aquaculture Committee headed by Minister of Agriculture & Fisheries and contains members at Undersecretaries and Director Generals from related governmental authorities. The competent authority will issue the Provisional Aquaculture License (PAL) for one year to the applicant on the basis of the main Aquaculture Committee's decision. During this one year, the applicant should submit the full feasibility study and Environmental Impact Assessment study (EIA). This preliminary approval will be withdrawn in the case of failure of applicant to submit the required studies during period of preliminary approval (one year) and without any excuse or reasons for the delays.

        The competent authority will issue the Operational Aquaculture License (OAL) to the company upon the approval of the main Aquaculture Committee and only if the applicant meets all the requirements stipulated by the Aquaculture By-law and the signature of the lease agreement allocated for establishing the project as stipulated on Article 38 of Aquaculture By-law. The company shall begin implementing the project within a period not exceeding six months from the date of receipt of the site. If this period is exceeded without starting the implementation, the competent authority may withdraw the license upon the approval of the Committee and require the licensee to hand over the site within the period specified by the competent authority. The duration for the commercial project is 20 years and it can be renewed for one or more periods.

        For Integrated Aquaculture projects, the applications should be submitted to Director General of Fisheries Resources Development using the relevant prescribed form. The application should contain the following information:
        1. The proposed site for the project and its area indicating the province / state / location coordinates.
        2. A copy of the ownership of the agricultural land or the lease contract of the land allocated for the project.
        3. Type of aquaculture species to be cultivated and its source and quantity.
        4. The expected project starting date, duration and cost.
        5. Data showing the water quality, nature, quantity and source of water to be used in the project and the way of discharging it, if the project is land sited.
        6. Identify the aquaculture system that will be used.
        7. A brief on the project and how it will be manage.
        8. Flow chart of the project components and production stages.
        9. Any other data determined by the competent authority.
        The application is technically evaluated by the technical committee. The competent authority shall issue the preliminary approval based of the Technical Committee's decision and approval of the Minister. If the applicant fulfills all the requirements of the Aquaculture By-law, the competent authority shall issue the final license to practice integrated aquaculture. The duration of the integrated farming project shall be 10 years, renewable for one or more periods.
        Access to land and water
        Sites for Aquaculture in Oman can be governmental land or private owned land. Any site determined by MAF as suitable site for aquaculture is forwarded to Ministry of Housing for approval as it is the responsible agency in Oman for land allocation. This system is applied for land or sea sites. Other concerned authorities such as Ministry of Environment & Climate Affairs and Ministry of Transport & Telecommunication are also contacted for technical opinion about the sites. The site for aquaculture is leased for 20 years for commercial projects subject to renewed for one or more periods. The leasing contract will be renewed each year during the leasing period. Leasing fee for aquaculture sites is Oman Rial (OMR) 5 (approximately USD 13) each 4 500 m2 and this is applied on land and sea sites. Water resources are protected by Royal Decree No. 29/2000 for water resources protection and its two ministerial decisions. One for management of well & Falaj system and the second for using desalination unit on the well. This law applies in aquaculture projects especially in integrated aquaculture of Tilapia in freshwater and also where wells are build in any aquaculture projects.
        EIA
        Protecting environment is one of the main priorities of Oman Government. Therefore, Ministry of Environment & Climate Affairs (MECA) was established as the main governmental authority responsible for the protection of environment in Oman. There are many laws for environment protections in Oman of which the law on Conservation of Environment and Prevention of Pollution is the main one. In year 1982, government issued this law, which can be treated as the main frame for the environment protection in Oman. This law was amended by the Royal Decree No. 114/2001 which was issued in 14/11/2001. Many regulations and ministerial decrees have been issued by the Ministry of Environment & Climate Affairs for the enforcement of the main law.

        According to this law, no establishment of any source or area of work shall be started before obtaining an environmental permit confirming its environmental soundness. This also includes the aquaculture projects.

        The Ministerial decision 68/2004 for organizing the Issuance of Environmental Approvals and the Final Environmental Permit is an important regulation and it includes the aquaculture projects. This regulation detailed the necessary requirements and the approval system for Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) Study. In this regulation (Article 2), the industrial establishments have been classified into three categories according to the materials used in production, production capacity and the degree of their impact on the adjacent environment. Each category has its own environmental conditions according to the level of environmental impact arising from its construction and operation. Aquaculture projects are classified in the third category, which requires more detailed study of EIA.

        For Aquaculture projects, the applicants should submit the EIA study to the Directorate of Aquaculture Development which will evaluate the study and after that, the applicant gives the study to MECA. According to the regulation (Article 2), the owner of any establishment (including aquaculture establishment) shall apply to the Ministry of Environment & Climate Affairs for Environmental approval. Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) study should be submitted with the application and the ministry official shall inspect the proposed site to determine the environmental conditions that must be fulfilled. The preliminary approval is given to the establishment to initiate the construction process. The approval shall include specifications environmental conditions to be fulfilled prior to starting operations and shall be valid for one year renewable for a similar period.

        The final environmental permit is given to the establishment after fulfillment of the conditions stated by in the preliminary environmental approval and shall be valid for two years and renewable for a same period or other specified period as stipulated in Article (1)

        There are fees against the issuance of the environmental approval and the final environmental permit. Depending on its nature of activities as evaluated by the Competent Authority, the establishment shall be bound to conduct an Environmental Audit (EA) by specialized companies approved by the Sultanate according to the requirement of the ISO 14000 series for environmental management system, every two years from the date of receiving their final environmental permits.
        Operation
        Water and wastewater
        Water resources are protected by Royal Decree No. 29/2000 for water resources protection and its two ministerial decisions. One for management of well & Falaj system and the second for using desalination unit on the well. Ministry of Regional Municipalities & Water Resources is the Competent Authority for management of water resources. Wastewater is regulated by MD No. 145/93 for wastewater re-use and discharge. There are no specific references to water quality and pollution in relation to aquaculture activities as it is still in infancy stage in Oman. Aquaculture projects are subject to wastewater discharge license from Ministry of Environment & Climate Affairs (MECA) of the conditions and rules for discharge the wastewater or re-use it are outlined in the Ministerial decision 145/93. According to the Article (2) of this decision, the discharge to the environment of any wastewater or sludge in whatever form or conditions is prohibited without a permit to discharge issued by the Ministry of Environment & Climate Affairs. This decision specified the quality limits of wastewater and the conditions of reused sludge in agriculture as stipulated in Article (3).

        The standards for liquid effluent disposal to marine environment are stated in the Ministerial Decision No. 159/2005. Article (5) of this decision stated that the disposal of any liquid effluent to the marine environment, either directly or indirectly is prohibited without prior application to the MECA.

        This Ministerial Decision is applicable to aquaculture. According to the Article (12) of Aquaculture By-Law, The licensee shall comply with environment protection laws and pollution control regulations in the Sultanate of Oman and to take the necessary measures and precautions to prevent contamination of the environment surrounding the project.
        Fish movement
        According to the aquaculture regulation (Article 4), it is not permissible to transfer farmed aquatic species from one farm to another, except upon the written consent of the competent authority. The import and culture of exotic species is prohibited unless approval is obtained from the Competent Authority (Ministry of Agriculture & Fisheries).

        The fishes imported for aquaculture shall fulfill the following conditions as stipulated on Article (6) of the Aquaculture By-law:
        1. It shall be produced under scientific supervision in a reputed institution or specialized establishment.
        2. It shall be accompanied with Certificate of origin, health certification reveal the clearance from diseases issued from a governmental veterinary authority in the country of origin stamped by the Sultanate embassy in the country of origin or any other party authorized by the Competent Authority.
        3. It shall be subjected upon arrival to the Sultanate the veterinary quarantine measures and surveillance of Competent Authority.
        4. The imported fish fingerlings shall be kept in separate tanks as may perceived by the competent authority for each batch, to prevent diseases transmission or mixing with other cultured animals.
        Disease control
        There is no separate regulation for control of fish disease within the aquaculture facilities, but in general, there is veterinary law which handle this issue in general way.

        The veterinary system and its requirements and control measures are discussed in the Royal Decree No. 45/2004 and the executive by-law issued by ministerial decision No. 107/2008. According to the law (Article 3), the export and import of all animals and its product (including fish) should be first approved by Ministry of Agriculture & Fisheries. Article (6) of this law stated that the import of animal from infected country is prohibited. According to the law (Article 5), the imported shipment of animal (including live fish) should be accompanied by the necessary documents and certificates, which certify the health conditions of the shipment. The violated shipment should be quarantine separately and checked. The necessary documents and certificates should arrive in one week, and the shipment should not be released without these documents. These documents include international health certificate issued by the government of exported country and approved by the Oman embassy in that country. The documents should include the following information:
        1. Source name and country name, importer name, number of the animal and conditions and any other details needed by quarantine authority.
        2. Import license from quarantine authority in Oman.
        3. Governmental certification from the source reveals the free of shipment from diseases.
        The owner of the animal shipment (including live fish) should notify the quarantine authority about the entry point of the shipment two days prior to arrival date. The license for import is valid for one month. The quarantine authority can conduct the necessary procedures, which include specimens test and vaccination to ensure that shipment is free of diseases and edible for human consumption. For live fish, the law stated that the shipment should be in good conditions and free of diseases listed in OIE (World Organisation for Animal Health).

        According to the quarantine regulation, the shipment of live fish should be free from the infectious or contiguous diseases listed in OIE list and should be also free of any harmful pollutants to human, animal or environment. For other fish product, the regulation stated that shipments should be suitable for human consumption and packed according to specification of International Codex Alimentarius.
        Drugs
        Ministry of Agriculture & Fisheries is the Competent Authority for control the use of pesticides and veterinary drugs in aquaculture as stated by Aquaculture By-law (Article 64). According to the aquaculture regulation (Articles 64-65), veterinary drugs used in the farm shall be registered with the competent authority according to the applied basics. The allowable drugs are listed in the aquaculture regulation with their maximum allowable limit and any other veterinary drugs shall not be used. Combined feed with medical integrands such as hormones and antibiotics, is considered as Veterinary Drugs.

        The Veterinary Drugs in the farm shall be used only for the treatment and prophylaxis for fishes and by a written prescription specifying the type, draft and the period of using, issued from a veterinarian or a specialist on fish diseases. According to the regulation (Article 69), the safety period of the drugs shall be considered when the treated fish is used for human consumption or the fish moved from one farm to another. Drugs residue in the treated fish patch shall be tested after the safety period to make sure that the residue do not exceed the maximum allowable limits. For record issue, the aquaculture regulation indicated the type of data required (Article 70) such as:
        1. Identification of the type of treated fish.
        2. Quantities and giving method of Veterinary Drugs, including the combined feeds consisting of Veterinary integrants.
        3. Date of the beginning and the end of the treatment.
        4. Safety duration of the drug.
        The above-mentioned record shall be kept at least for a year from the date of the last recorded batch. A written certificate shall be issued by each farm for each batch of the aquaculture products showing the Veterinary Drugs used the termination of the stated safety period and the residue shall not exceed the maximum allowable limits. Veterinary drugs shall be stored in a special place assigned for this purpose, labeled with appropriate stickers and closed all the time. The drugs shall be register in a special book with their types, names, expiry date and date of last opening of the store with signature of competent staff.

        The Royal Decree No. 46/95 issuing the “Law of Handling and Use of Chemicals” controls the use of chemicals in Oman. According to the law (Article 9), it is not permissible to import, export, transport, store or handle any hazardous chemical unless packed in special container according to the approved and recognized specifications in the Sultanate. The hazardous chemical waste empty containers and any substances in violation of law should be disposed at expense of the user and under the supervision of the MECA.
        Feed
        For animal feed in general, the veterinary regulations restricted the import of feeds unless authorized from Competent Authority and introduced from approved entry (Article 5). The feed shipment should be free of any diseases or toxic substances. The shipment should be also accompanied by analytical certificate approved by Oman embassy or any Gulf countries embassies stated the type of feed and its ingredients and source of the shipment. The executive by-law also stated the organizing of the work in quarantine places and the procedures that should be done when shipment arrived or when any infected shipment arrived.

        According to aquaculture regulation (Article 63), Cattle remains or poultry shall not be used as feed unless they are not harmful for the human health and processed by heat treatment for a period and temperature enough to kill the living cells of the harmful germs. The feed used shall consist a component of known elements that shall meet the international measure specifications and written on the refill the data of these elements. The regulation stated that Feeds shall be stored in well ventilated place, protected from insects, rats and birds, away from chemical, pesticides storing places.
        Food safety
        In general, different Governmental Authority are responsible for food safety in Oman, these include Ministry of Agriculture & Fisheries, Ministry of Regional Municipalities & Water Resources, Ministry of Environment & Climate Affairs, Muscat Municipality and Ministry of Commerce & Industry. For HACCP system in Fish processing and production, there is Fish quality control by-law which was issued by Ministerial decision No.136/98. Aquaculture By-law stated that any aquaculture establishment should be obligated of the following (Articles 55-56):
        1. Determining and implementing controlling and checking system of the critical points in all the stages of production and manufacturing according to HACCP.
        2. Any establishment shall take out samples of each patch from the production, water, soil and feed for analysis in laboratories approved by the competent authority to make sure of the compatibility of Health system to HACCP.
        The Aquaculture By-law also states all the requirements needed for quality of the aquaculture organisms and the hygienic issues of the farms. According to this By-law (Article 8) any aquaculture company should get quality control certification before exporting its products. This certification will be given after the company passes the conditions stated in this law and fish quality control law and HACCP systems.

        The Aquaculture By-law also states the hygienic conditions that should be followed in any fish farm. These conditions are applied both for farm and working people (Articles 55-61). Any company should follow the HACCP system in all production chains. The regulation also states that the people working in the farm should be free of transmission disease and checked medically every year to ensure their health. Water should be treated before discharged into the environment. The aquaculture firm should formulate programs for cleaning and autoclaving of equipment, pest control program, fish treatment records.
        Miscellaneous
        Aquaculture investment 
        The Public Authority for Investment Promotion and Export Development (PAIPED) can provide an array of logistical services to investors, including:
        • Providing information on investment climate, laws, procedures and also project specific information.
        • Organizing visit programmes and match-making meetings for foreign investors; assisting investors to obtain various government approvals.
        • Reviewing the project proposals prepared by investors and advising them on the appropriate entry strategy for setting up operations.
        Oman is a highly attractive place to do business. The Sultanate offers a wide range of financial and business development incentives including:
        • No income tax on personal income.
        • Free repatriation of capital and profits.
        • Seventy percent foreign ownership which may be increased. It can reach 100 percent in the free industrial zones.
        • Corporate tax holidays are available for 5 years.
        • Low energy costs.
        • No currency repatriation restrictions.
        • No duty for manufacturing companies on the import of machinery, equipment and spare parts.
        • No duty for manufacturing companies on raw materials and semi-processed inputs for the first five years of production, which can be extended.
        • Oman Development Bank's soft loan programme.
        • Oman Investment Fund offering equity participation in suitable aquaculture projects.
        References
        Legislation
        Law on Conservation of the Environment and Prevention of Pollution issued by Royal Decree No. 114/2001. Ministry of Regional Municipalities, Environment & Water Resources.
        Law of veterinary system in Arabian Gulf Countries issued bt the Royal Decree No. 93/2000. Ministry of Agriculture & Fisheries.
        Law of Fishing and Protection of Marine living Aquatic Resources issued by Royal Decree No. 59/1993. Second edition 1994. Ministry of Agriculture & Fisheries.
        Law of Handling and Use of Chemicals issued by Royal Decree No. 46/1995. Ministry of Regional Municipalities, Environment & Water Resources.
        Ministerial decision No. 187/2001 for Organizing the Issuance of Environmental Approvals and the Final Environmental Permit. Ministry of Regional Municipalities, Environment & Water Resources.
        Ministerial decision No. 8/2001 issued the regulations for veterinary system.
        Ministerial decision No. 136/98 for Quality Control Regulation for Omani Fishery Export. Second Edition 2001. Ministry of Agriculture & Fisheries.
        Ministerial decision No. 248/1997 issuing the Regulation for the Registration of Hazardous Chemical Substances and the Related Permits. Ministry of Regional Municipalities, Environment & Water Resources.
        Ministerial decision No. 80/1994 issuing Regulations for Noise Pollution Control in Working Environment. Ministry of Regional Municipalities, Environment & Water Resources.
        Ministerial decision No. 19/93 issuing Regulations for the Management of solid Non-Hazardous Waste. Ministry of Regional Municipalities, Environment & Water Resources.
        Ministerial decision No. 17/93. Regulations for the Management of Hazardous Waste. Ministry of Regional Municipalities, Environment & Water Resources.
        Ministerial decision No. 145/1993 issuing the Regulations for Wastewater Re-use and Discharge. Ministry of Regional Municipalities, Environment & Water Resources.
        Ministerial decision No. 7/84 issuing the Regulations concerning the disposal of liquid effluent to the Marine Environment.
        Related resources

        faolexSearch parameters: country=OMN, Keywords=aquaculture;mariculture
        Records Returned: 9
        Title of textDate of textConsolidated dateEntry into forceCountries
        Sustainable Management of the Fisheries Sector in Oman - A Vision for Shared Prosperity.2015-12By 2040.Oman

        Royal Decree No.68/2012 defining the terms of reference for of the Ministry of Agriculture and Fisheries and the adoption of its organizational structure.2012-12-02This Decree enters into force on the date of its publication in the Official Gazette.Oman

        Ministerial Decree No.177/2012 issuing the Aquaculture and Related Quality Control Regulations.2012-08-04This Resolution enters into force the day after its publication in the Official Gazette.Oman

        Ministerial Decree No. 52/2011 issuing a support list for the fisheries sector.2011-05-17This Resolution enters into force the day after its publication in the Official Gazette.Oman

        Royal Decree No. 83/2008 which define the jurisdiction of the Ministry of Agriculture and Fisheries and the adoption of its organizational structure2008-06-14This Decree enters into force on the date of its publication in the Official Gazette.Oman

        Ministerial Decree No. 36/2004 issuing the Regulations on fish farming and its quality.2004-05-12This Ministerial Decree enters into force on the date of its publication in the Official Gazette.Oman

        National Biodiversity Strategy and Action Plan.2001Oman

        Agreement for the establishment of the Regional Commission for Fisheries.1999-11-11This Agreement is not yet in force. The Agreement requires 3 instruments of acceptance in order to enter into force. At 31 January 2001 only two adoptions existed, Qatar (12 July 2000) and Saudi Arabia (3 November 2000).Bahrain; Iran, Islamic Republic of; Iraq; Kuwait; Oman; Qatar; Saudi Arabia; United Arab Emirates

        Ministerial Resolution No.4/94 Implementing Regulation of the Law on Marine Fishing and Protection of Living Aquatic Resources.1994-02-20This Implementing Regulation enters into force on the date of its publication.Oman

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