Sturgeon and caviar aquaculture plant in Abu Dhabi. (Photo: UFTAG/FIS)
Sturgeon and caviar now being produced in the desert
UNITED ARAB EMIRATES
Tuesday, April 12, 2011, 23:30 (GMT + 9)
The world’s largest recirculating aquaculture system for sturgeons and the production of premium caviar has been established in Abu Dhabi. This month, 140 tonnes of live sturgeon, or 22 fish, were imported from Frankfurt by sea and air to initiate their farming.
The project is being run by the German firm United Food Technologies AG (UFT AG), which specialises in the planning and design of aquaculture projects across the globe. UFT AG boasts a modern, sustainable fish farm spanning 61,000 sqm right in the desert -- the first of its kind in the Middle East and the largest recirculation plant anywhere.
To shorten the production process of 4-4.5 years, mature fish are shipped in for farming. This will allow the company to produce its first premium caviar by the end of the year.
At full capacity, the plant will yield 32 yearly tonnes of caviar and 490 yearly tonnes of sturgeon – amounts previously unheard of for these products.
Because sturgeons have a lengthy reproductive cycle, long migrations and are sensitive to environmental conditions, 85 per cent of sturgeon species are classified at risk of extinction due to overfishing, water pollution and the increasing demand for oil in the Caspian Sea, where many of the fish roam. Farming them thus appears to be the best way to satisfy the world’s demand for the fish’s caviar.
Part of Lebanon-based United Food Technologies International (UFTI), UFT AG has employed its patented technology to implement the venture.
Its technology is highly efficient and ecologically friendly, the company said. UFT AG’s core business is the construction of highly profitable yet environmentally friendly aquaculture facilities where different species of fish can be raised.
These plants can be built nearly anywhere in the world. The quality of the farm-raised fish is constant because their living conditions (including water temperature, oxygen content and stress factors) can be controlled and thus optimum growth conditions created.
The company’s internal biological treatment processes protect water quality and prevent emissions of contaminated air, odour or water, only releasing clean, mechanically processed water.
- Sturgeon farming flourishes
- Caspian states may impose sturgeon fishing ban
By Natalia Real