Seafood safety and quality: An analysis of the supply chain in the Sultanate of Oman

Moza A. Al-Busaidi*, David J. Jukes, Shekar Bose

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

25 Citations (Scopus)


The globalization of trade in fish has created many challenges for the developing world specifically with regard to food safety and quality. International organisations have established a good basis for standards in international trade. Whilst these requirements are frequently embraced by the major importers (such as Japan, the EU and the USA), they often impose additional safety requirements and regularly identify batches which fail to meet their strict standards. Creating an effective national seafood control system which meets both the internal national needs as well the requirements for the export market can be challenging. Many countries adopt a dual system where seafood products for the major export markets are subject to tight control whilst the majority of the products (whether for the local market or for more regional trade) are less tightly controlled. With regional liberalization also occurring, deciding on appropriate controls is complex. In the Sultanate of Oman, fisheries production is one of the countries' chief sources of economic revenue after oil production and is a major source of the national food supply. In this paper the structure of the fish supply chain has been analysed and highlighted the different routes operating for the different markets. Although much of the fish are consumed within Oman, there is a major export trade to the local regional markets. Much smaller quantities meet the more stringent standards imposed by the major importing countries and exports to these are limited. The paper has considered the development of the Omani fish control system including the key legislative documents and the administrative structures that have been developed. Establishing modern controls which satisfy the demands of the major importers is possible but places additional costs on businesses. Enhanced controls such as HACCP and other management standards are required but can be difficult to justify when alternative markets do not specify these. These enhanced controls do however provide additional consumer protection and can bring benefits to local consumers. The Omani government is attempting to upgrade the system of controls and has made tremendous progress toward the implementation of HACCP and introducing enhanced management systems into its industrial sector. The existence of strengthened legislative and government support, including subsidies, has encouraged some businesses to implement HACCP. The current control systems have been reviewed and an SWOT analysis approach used to identify key factors for their future development. The study shows that seafood products in the supply chain are often exposed to lengthy handling and distribution process before reaching the consumers, a typical issue faced by many developing countries. As seafood products are often perishable, they safety is compromised if not adequately controlled. The enforcement of current food safety laws in the Sultanate of Oman is shared across various government agencies. Consequently, there is a need to harmonize all regulatory requirements, enhancing the domestic food protection and to continue to work towards a fully risk-based approach in order to compete successfully in the global market.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)651-662
Number of pages12
JournalFood Control
Publication statusPublished - Jan 1 2016


  • Control
  • Oman
  • Safety
  • Seafood
  • Supply chain
  • Trade

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biotechnology
  • Food Science


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