Oman's digital innovations in fish trade

Fish is the second most important natural resource for Oman after oil and gas,  making the country one of the largest fish producers in the Arab region. WTO staff learned about the country's digital innovations in fish trade as part of a visit on 14-17 February 2023 for a technical workshop on fisheries subsidies for the region. During the visit, Director-General Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala also met with ministers from the Gulf. 


Mahmoud goes out to sea at first light every morning with his small motorboat to fish up to eight to ten kilometres from the shore. He usually comes back at about 10am to the Al Seeb Government Fish Market with the day's catch usually some tuna and mackerel - just enough to make a living.
Rachid, meanwhile, travels from a port about one hour away to sell his catch at the same market. He is able to stay for two days at sea and returns with a variety of fish. On a good day, he is able to sell all his catch by midday.
Rachid says that fishing provides a very good income and he is grateful for the healthy levels of fish in his area.
Al Seeb Government Fish Market was established by the Omani Government to improve facilities for artisanal fishermen, especially those landing their catch in the nearby ports. The Fish Quality Control Department serves the market and the port. There are also workshops for doing maintenance work on the engines of boats and ships.
Meanwhile, at the daily auction hall, the catch is weighed, priced and bartered.
An online fish auction house called the Behar Market was established by the Omani Government in cooperation with the Omani Tech Fund to facilitate the wholesale auction of fresh seafood to local and international markets.
Despite challenges posed by COVID-19 restrictions, the e-commerce platform allowed the fish industry to continue to flourish while maintaining a steady income for all stakeholders.
The Behar Market is fully virtual. As a result, fishermen are able to complete their activities in the morning and seek other sources of income for the rest of the day.