“This proves that it is possible to produce salmon in the desert”

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The first ever home-grown salmon in The United Arab Emirates is set to hit the market today.

“It is an interesting project and a great achievement. This proves that it is possible to produce salmon in the desert – and in theory, everywhere depending on the investment costs of course” said AKVA Land Based Sales Director Jacob Bregnballe.

Fish Farm, headquartered in Dubai, UAE, has set up an inland farming facility in Jebel Ali – a short drive outside Dubai. The farm is built in an existing building, and the fish bred in a controlled environment in a recirculation aquaculture system (RAS) – all from AKVA group – including Akvasmart CCS feeding system, AKVA connect software and more.

“The sea water originates from the Persian Gulf outside Dubai and the system is cooled to the desired temperature. The water consumption is reduced with 99 per cent compared to a normal flow-through system,” said Bregnballe.

“We control the temperature, tides, salinity and depth, and create sunrise, sunset, automatic currents as if it’s a river or sea, and make it as if we have a storm or calm weather. It’s the only salmon breeding system in the world with full environment control,” Fish Farm CEO Bader Bin Mubarak told The National.

Fish Farm has 34 tanks at its facility in Jebel Ali port, of which four are used for the salmon grow-out. Fish Farm aims to produce a total of 10,000 to 15,000kg of salmon each month, although this could increase with demand.

Remarkable achievement
In a call to SalmonBusiness last week, Edmund Broad, Business Development Manager for the Dubai-based Fish Farm, confirmed that the company has completed its first salmon harvest. The first one ever in the UAE.

“We’re selling 2 tonnes a week starting next Friday,” Broad said. That salmon will hit the market on Friday the 5th of April.

Eighteen months ago, Fish Farm received 40,000 salmon fry from a natural hatchery in North West Scotland and thousand more salmon eggs from Iceland to its onshore hatchery in the UAE. Automatic fish transfer pumps connect the tanks with transparent pipes so the team can monitor how the fish are moving and behaving when handled.

Technical Manager at Fish Farm Nigel Lewis told SalmonBusiness at the time: “It’s the realisation of a dream – it fits perfectly within the UAE’s drive for food security as 92 per cent of all the fish here are imported and that needs to be addressed. Being at the forefront of aquaculture with the support of the government and the Future Food security minister Mariam Al Hareb is a great honour. It’s very exciting every day to see our salmon leaping.”