Jebel Ali Free Zone will play host to the first shrimp farm in the UAE to feature the RAS method.

Dubai: The first shrimp farm in the region to be built on updated sustainability practices will come up in Jebel Ali Free Zone. This follows agreement between Prime Aquaculture, a subsidiary of Emirates National Aquaculture, with JAFZA for a ‘shrimp RAS farm’. It should ready to launch operations by first quarter 2023.

The project is the latest aimed at building sufficient food production capacity in the UAE and thus raise food security. “The UAE’s food trade exceeds Dh100 billion annually, and food and beverage investments in the nation stand at a total of Dh62 billion,” said Abdulla Bin Damithan, CEO and Managing Director, DP World UAE and Jafza. “This is proof that the F&B sector is one of the most lucrative industries driving the UAE’s economy.

“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.”

How is RAS method different?

The current shrimp farming method, also known as a semi-intensive culture system, is an open pond system that requires a lot of space. RAS not only recirculates water, but also maintains control over all of the water’s “physio-chemical qualities”. (RAS stands for ‘recirculation aquaculture systems’.)

The Jebel Ali facility will include a shrimp farm, hatchery, and primary and secondary processing units. Prime Aquaculture will incorporate RAS technology and with a discharge of 5-7 per cent, the farm will produce over 1,000 MT of shrimps a year, which is three times more than the current shrimp production in the UAE.

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

Emirates National Aquaculture along with Prime Aquaculture will add 3,400 MT/year to UAE’s aquaculture production, which stood at 3,200 MT/year in 2021. Establishing our shrimp farm in JAFZA is a massive step towards achieving this objective

- Imtiyaz Abdul Razak Kalsekar, Managing Director of Prime Aquaculture