Student group pilots aquaculture of ornamental fish variety

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MUSCAT: A student research group at the Department of Marine Science and Fisheries of the College of Agricultural & Marine Sciences at Sultan Qaboos University achieved successful hatching trial for the Electric blue crayfish. The experiment took place in the Department of Marine Science at SQU under the supervision of Dr Gilha Yoon. The experiments were performed by the student research group setting the breeding system for the crayfish together with the hatchery. Breeding behaviours and all the proper environmental factors have been studied.

The student research group

The Electric blue crayfish is one of the most remarkable freshwater ornamental species. It has an amazing splash of brilliant blue colour that is sure to draw attention to aquarists making them very demanded at the ornamental fish industry. However, all crayfish that come into Oman are all imported from many countries and their price is approximately RO 10 per adult crayfish pair from pet shops.
This trial is very important as stated by the leader of research group, Maryam al Sawafi. “As far as I know this is the first hatching trial of the Electric blue crayfish in Oman. By this trial, we seek to help the ornamental industry to prosper, because whenever you go to any ornamental fish shop, you notice that most of the species are either exported from outside or they are wild. We really want to help the Omani aquaculture industry to expand diversity of income sources,” she said.
Maryam al Sawafi further said that many people think aquaculture is only to produce food fish but the female Electric blue crayfish carrying eggs is worth more than RO 200.
Another student research group member, Ahmed al Kiyumi, said that their research group has been growing many ornamental species which are very much in demand outside the region as aquatic pets, for conservation of wild populations like the Omani clown fish and zebra fish for medical field. Supervisor Dr Yoon emphasised that the ornamental fish business is very suitable for family scale business.
“If government supports start-up investment and SQU assists technical aspects then we can create many small businesses from breeding to trade, these would be created many jobs in Oman and finally enrich national revenue. Hopefully my students learn advanced lab and field skills for preparing them as an independent researcher or businessman is a priority for these trials, then they can devote industry especially for the fishery and fish related sectors that are developing now in Oman”, he said.

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