Wednesday, 27 November 2013

Salmon Fishing In The Emirates

English: Atlantic salmon. Salmo salar.
(Photo credit: Wikipedia)
So it's official. A company is to develop an on-shore salmon farm in Western Abu Dhabi, chilling sea water and using 'recirculating aquaculture' techniques to farm the fish in tanks cooled to 13 celsius. Reuters reports on the story here.

The 500,000 square metre farm is to be developed in two phases at a cost of a tad over $27 million and will produce 4,000 tonnes of fish a year in its final phase.

They're looking at a UAE market of around 1,000 tonnes of salmon a year, currently airfreighted here from Norway and Ireland at a cost of something like $4-5 per kilo. Other gulf countries will take up the rest of the crop.

The company behind the scheme, Abu Dhabi fish farming and production company 'Asmak', isn't kidding. It already has major farming operations in the Gulf, with farms in Saudi Arabia and the UAE currently producing over 2,000 tonnes of fish a year - and a processing, distribution and 'value-added products' business.

There are major concerns about the health risks associated with consuming farmed salmon, particularly given the diet farmed fish are fed and the way it introduces toxins into the fish which we, in turn, consume. The furore really kicked off ten years ago with a scary study by Albany University which recommended eating very little farmed salmon indeed to avoid increased risk of cancer. There has been huge debate recently in Norway following advice issued to pregnant mothers to avoid eating farmed salmon - which brings the Norwegians in line with UK health advice, incidentally.

I give you this link to the story in the Shetland News. I love the Shetland News strapline "Great is the truth and it shall prevail".

Some of the media round here could do with a touch of that...

Anyway, it'll be interesting to see what Asmak intends to feed its fishies. Shame none of the local media covering the story asked... but then they just hacked the Reuters piece into make-up.
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Sally - My Custard Pie said...

Well said and good summary of sources. The scandal about farmed fish seems to have quietly faded away but the practises remain the same. Potentially toxic and environmentally damaging. I never buy farmed salmon and try to limit my consumption of it to a minimum. We expect to have everything all the time - salmon used to be an expensive the cost is paid by our health and surroundings. As for farmed prawns (just google those words and see)....

Sarah Walton said...

I guess we have to always assess the value compared to present market produce though. Sure, it's shocking stuff, but if the market doesn't have local stuff to buy, then they will just buy the imported farmed product. We have very, very little wild salmon available in the UAE. Coupled with that, we have declining resources of other wild fish in the area. I agree that wild salmon is better than farmed, but even with the cost (environmental and financial) of the local production, I doubt it's going to be worse that refrigerated, air-freighted, imported salmon, which is the evil farmed stuff anyway.
If only we could somehow get them to farm hamour responsibly!

IshitaUnblogged said...

It's good that the UAE tries to re-create everything that's desirable in this world - starting from blooming gardens to chilling fish tanks. But at what cost? While I support a lot of these efforts to go locavorism, I do wish that there's more thought and research going into who bears the actual cost?

I have been hearing you on Dubai Eye, but I'll be honest that I didn't quite know that you blog. Hopped onto this post from Sally's tweet. Loved reading the previous post too. I am a hard-core Dubaiite and Dubai should win the Expo bid!

Alexander McNabb said...

Didn't know I blog? Golly, I hardly keeps a secret of it!

Anyway, you can always catch up by buying The Book Of The Blog!

IshitaUnblogged said...

Sorry about that... I had been deaf I guess!

IshitaUnblogged said...

I've tried to compensate for hurting the sensitive blogger's ego by following you wherever I can (subscribed to yourblog, twitter, Google +... am new to that). The only thing that's left is catching up on the book in Amazon!

Rupert Neil Bumfrey said...

Dozy more like IshitaUnblogged! ;-)

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