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Ministry Of Climate Change And Environment, Fish Farm Ink Agreement To Operate Fish Hatchery In Umm Al Quwain (28 July 2018)

The Ministry of Climate Change and Environment (MOCCAE) and Fish Farm LLC signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) authorizing Fish Farm to operate a fish hatchery at MOCCAE’s Marine Environment Research Center in Umm Al Quwain.

His Excellency Sultan Alwan, Assistant Undersecretary of the Regions Sector at MOCCAE, and Bader bin Mubarak, CEO of Fish Farm, signed the agreement, in the presence of senior representatives from both entities.

Under the agreement, the Ministry authorizes Fish Farm to operate and manage the fish hatchery located at its Marine Environment Research Center that comprises 24 tanks, with a capacity of 10 cubic meters each.

In addition to managing and operating the hatchery, Fish Farm is mandated to install 300 artificial caves every year for the three-year duration of the agreement.

Speaking on the agreement, His Excellency Sultan Alwan said it aimed to improve the long-term sustainability of fisheries as a primary pillar of food diversity in the country.

He said: “To meet this priority, we are keen to encourage the private sector to invest in marine aquaculture through supporting and facilitating such investments. The new initiative is an extension of our Artificial Caves program launched in 2016 to build artificial habitats that provide a safe environment for the breeding of fish and other marine species. Combined with the fishing regulations introduced by the Ministry, the program has led to a remarkable improvement in fish populations in these waters, as evidenced in a 2017 survey to study its impact.”

MOCCAE, in collaboration with the Environment Agency - Abu Dhabi, conducted a survey on fish populations in the UAE’s waters along the Arabian Gulf and the Sea of Oman at the end of 2017. While previous surveys in 2001 and 2011 showed a decline in fish populations over 1980 numbers, the 2017 survey indicates that this decline has been curbed. Furthermore, in some areas along the Sea of Oman, fish populations are once again thriving and several economically-important species have been spotted for the first time. 

For his part, Badr bin Mubarak, CEO of Fish Farm, said: “The agreement leverages Fish Farm’s long-standing experience in marine aquaculture and managing fish hatcheries. We aim to help in finding modern solutions to the future challenges of sustaining fish populations locally and protecting all species against extinction and depletion.”

He noted that Fish Farm is the first in the world to breed five species of fish simultaneously and customize the surrounding climate to suit different fish species. He added that the company produces 2,500 tons of fish per annum and is a key contributor to enhancing food diversity in the UAE.

The impressive improvement in fish populations in 2017 is attributed to several factors. These include stricter public compliance with the fishing regulations, the implementation of the Artificial Caves program, the cultivation of coral reefs in damaged habitats, and the declaration of some marine areas as protected areas.    

In 2017 alone, the production capacity of fish farming in the 12 registered fish farms across the UAE registered 3,255 tons. The farms primarily cultivated fish species such as Spotted Groupers (Hamour), Barramundi, Tilapia, Shrimp, Seabream, Sea Bass, Sturgeon, and other Crustaceans and Molluscs.

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