The Oman-based shrimp farming subsidiary of Singapore's Blue Aqua International has appointed a new chief operating officer to advance its plans to develop the aquaculture sector in the Middle Eastern country.

Antonio Garza de Yta is joining Blue Aqua International Gulf as COO from his previous role of senior adviser for aquaculture at the Sustainable Technologies & Innovation Development Company in Oman. He is also a past president of the World Aquaculture Society and a former secretary of fisheries and aquaculture for Mexico's Tamaulipas state.

Blue Aqua said in a statement that Garza de Yta would work directly with the group's CEO and founder, Farshad Shishehchian.

The Omani government is making a big push to develop its aquaculture industry, recognizing its potential to address food security concerns and diversify the economy.

In its National Strategy for Sustainable Development of Aquaculture (2012-2040), Oman set a target of 200,000 metric tons of farmed fish production by 2040.

Blue Aqua plans this year to launch the country's first hyper-intensive tank system, targeting annual production of 1,000 metric tons of shrimp. It also plans to serve as a training center for future shrimp farmers and to host a dedicated research and development department.

Future expansion includes plans for a recirculating aquaculture system (RAS) trout farm with annual capacity of 3,000 metric tons and a 10,000 metric ton feed mill.