Dubai's Jafza and Prime Aquaculture to build region's first marine shrimp RAS farm - Gulf Business
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Dubai’s Jafza and Prime Aquaculture to build region’s first marine shrimp RAS farm

Dubai’s Jafza and Prime Aquaculture to build region’s first marine shrimp RAS farm

The high-tech farm will produce over 1,000 metric tonnes of shrimps annually – three times more than the current shrimp production in the UAE

Prime Aquaculture, a subsidiary of Emirates National Aquaculture, has signed a memorandum of understanding with Jebel Ali Free Zone (Jafza) to build the region’s first shrimp recirculating aquaculture system (RAS) farm. The innovative marine shrimp farm, expected to be completed by the first quarter of 2023, will aid in the cultivation of marine shrimp and significantly increase output in the UAE to meet the increasing demand.

The facility will include a shrimp farm, hatchery, and primary and secondary processing units. While driving sustainable food production in the UAE, the farm is also poised to meet the objectives of the UAE’s National Food Security Strategy 2051, enabling sustainable food production by using modern technologies and solutions.

The UAE relies heavily on imports to cater to local shrimp demands, with more than 51,000 metric tonnes (MT) of shrimps being imported per year. The total local consumption of shrimps ranges between 38,000 and 40,000MT, with pre-Covid imports going up to 51,108 MT, and export and re-exports reaching up to 12,204MT.

With the help of its RAS technology, the new farm will produce over 1,000MT of shrimps per year, which is three times more than the current shrimp production in the UAE.

Abdulla Bin Damithan, CEO and MD, DP World UAE and Jafza said, “The UAE’s food trade exceeds Dhs100bn annually, and food and beverage investments in the nation stand at a total of Dhs62bn. This is proof that the food and beverage sector is one of the most lucrative industries driving the UAE’s economy. One key driver of this vital industry’s growth is its aquaculture sector. We believe that strategic partnerships and technological investments in this sector are critical to enhance production efficiency and ensure its security over the longer term.”

“Taking these factors into consideration, through our partnership with Prime Aquaculture, we look forward to boosting shrimp production and ensuring quality produce with advanced technologies such as RAS. The shrimp farms will maintain high-intensity culture systems ensuring absolute biosecurity,” Bin Damithan added.

Imtiyaz Abdul Razak Kalsekar, MD of Prime Aquaculture, said, “The UAE consumes about 220,000 tonnes of seafood annually, with imports covering 70 per cent of this figure. One of the key pillars for the UAE’s National Food Security Strategy is to achieve self-sufficiency.

“During the pandemic, when travel restrictions were imposed, the importance of local production was highlighted. We, at the Emirates National Aquaculture, plan to enhance the UAE’s food security by doubling the current aquaculture production over the next three years. Emirates National Aquaculture along with Prime Aquaculture will add 3,400 MT/year to the UAE’s aquaculture production, which stood at approximately 3,200 MT/year in 2021. Establishing our shrimp farm in Jafza is a massive step towards achieving this objective.”

The present shrimp farming method, also known as a semi-intensive culture system, is an open pond system that requires a lot of space. RAS is the most sustainable technology available today for the process, as it not only recirculates water, but also maintains control over all of the water’s physiochemical qualities.

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