Sponsored by the President’s Initiatives Follow-up Committee, agreement aims to meet UAE’s strong demand for seafood by enhancing domestic production
Dubai, UAE: Her Excellency Mariam Almheiri, Minister of State for Food and Water Security, signed an agreement today with the commercial venture Fish Farm, represented by Bader bin Mubarak, CEO of Fish Farm LLC for the management, operation and maintenance of Sheikh Khalifa Marine Research Center in Umm Al Quwain.
The agreement, which was signed virtually, is part of the projects and programs of the President’s Initiatives Follow-up Committee.
Under the terms of the agreement, Fish Farm will operate, manage and maintain the hatchery of the Sheikh Khalifa Marine Research Center, in accordance with the best international practices. It will work to raise the hatchery’s productivity and enhance the quality of fish fingerlings that are then transferred to fish farms across the UAE to start the fish growing process. This will promote the Center’s role in contributing to national food security ecosystem.
The signing of the agreement was attended by H.E Humaid Rashid Al Shamsi, Secretary-General of the Executive Council of Umm Al Quwain; H.E Saeed Al Bahri Salem Al Ameri, Director General of Abu Dhabi Agriculture and Food Safety Authority; Engineer Ali Jassem Al Mazrouei, Director of the Initiatives Affairs Office at the Ministry of Presidential Affairs; Dr Khaled Al-Amiri, Director of the Khalifa Centre for Genetic Engineering and Biotechnology at the United Arab Emirates University; Ahlam Al Marzouqi, Associate Director of the Abu Dhabi Executive Affairs Authority; and Mohammed Al-Marzouqi representing the Environment Agency in Abu Dhabi.
Commenting on the agreement, Her Excellency Mariam Almheiri said: “The Sheikh Khalifa Marine Research Center represents one of the most important pillars of the development of the fisheries sector in the UAE and plays a pioneering role in enhancing national food security, as well as preserving the environment through its ability to produce fish sustainably. The hatchery is one of the centre’s most important tools for developing fish wealth by elevating its research in fish production, increasing its variety of fish species, and enhancing the overall quality.”
Her Excellency added: “We aim to develop the Sheikh Khalifa Marine Research Center’s hatchery in order to enhance local production of fish using modern technology and to apply the highest standards of sustainability throughout the process. Ultimately, our goal is to bridge the gap between local production and imports, the latter of which accounts for 70% of local consumption. The expertise and experience of Fish Farm in this area is expected to result in an enhancement of the hatchery’s performance and contribute to raising sustainable food production in the UAE.”
His Excellency Hamid Rashid Al Shamsi said: “The Umm Al Quwain Government is working to implement the visions and directives of the wise leadership, in an effort to play a significant role in the UAE’s comprehensive development, and create new opportunities for the national economy by strengthening various key sectors, with food security and the development of fisheries firmly among the government’s top priorities.”
His Excellency added: “Signing the commercial management, operation, and maintenance contract for the Center’s hatchery with Fish Farm is a pragmatic step towards the Center’s overall development. It helps promote Umm Al Quwain as a hub for investment and fisheries development in the UAE and the region. The emirate is committed to providing all means of support to the Center, in collaboration with various stakeholders in the UAE.”
For his part, Bader bin Mubarak said that Fish Farm, through its headquarters in Dubai and its branch in Dibba Fujairah, produces a large share of the local market’s seafood. It plays a major role in enriching the food security of the country by providing an ideal environment similar to the original environments of all types of fish throughout the year. He confirmed that national companies have high operating capacities that meet the local market demand for seafood. Raising the productivity of the hatchery and enhancing the quality of production of fish fingerlings will enable the expansion of food production locally through joint cooperation between the hatchery, Fish Farm, and the relevant authorities to reach self-sufficiency – a key objective of the UAE’s Food Security ecosystem.
The Sheikh Khalifa Marine Research Center in Umm Al Quwain is one of the most important initiatives of His Highness Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan, President of the UAE, in order to enhance national food security and create a scientific and research base that leads efforts to improve the food system and develop fish wealth in all regions of the country. The role of the Center’s hatchery is to hatch fish eggs and secure their growth from the larval stage to fingerlings, at which point they are sent to fish farmers to grow them to adults ready for farming.
The hatchery building has four main sections: egg hatching, larval growth, weaning, and nursing; it also includes live food production facilities to feed the fish as they develop. The fish fingerlings vary in size each period, reaching between 2 and 4 grams.
Sheikh Khalifa Marine Research Center’s hatchery has been designed according to the highest standards, with techniques for sustainably hatching and growing young fish. The hatchery will initially start producing local fish larvae and fingerlings that are economical to produce, such as Seabream, Seabass, Yellowtail kingfish, and Safi Fish.