The Duke of Cambridge tried his hand at mending nets as he learned about Oman’s traditional fishing industry as his tour of the Middle East drew to a close.
William crouched down to have a go at darning the green net laid out on a shingle beach and chatted to other fisherman about their techniques for catching local produce like the grouper fish.
He met the men on a stretch of shore overlooked by an Omani government centre, where the duke had earlier donned a white lab coat and blue surgical-style gloves to join scientists testing the DNA of marine animals.
Speaking through an interpreter, William asked the fishermen about their work and after being complimented about his stitching, he replied: “You are kind, I need to come and learn off you a bit more.”
He walked a few metres to where a man was sitting in a small boat baiting hooks with sardines, and joked “groupers like sardines”.
Earlier, William was given a tour of the Ministry of Agriculture and Fisheries Marine Science Centre, where scientists are working with the UK Government’s marine science agency Cefas to share expertise and build capacity for sustainable aquaculture and fisheries management.
Oman is trying to diversify its economy by developing its marine farming industry – creating farms for shrimps and certain fish.
Wearing a lab coat and gloves, the duke walked into a laboratory where staff were analysing shellfish DNA to determine if it had any diseases.
Dr Will Le Quesne, from Cefas (Centre for Environment Fisheries and Aquaculture Science) told the duke: “Shrimp and fish cannot tell you when they’re unwell and this is a way of looking for disease.”
William used a pipette to put a sample of DNA into a machine which tested its purity.
In another lab, he chatted to scientists studying the algae bloom that appears twice a year for around three months in the waters around Oman.
He peered through a microscope at a sample of algae, and when he asked why it was not moving he laughed when told it had been preserved.