Salmon farming in the desert

Published on June 26, 2019

Salmon farming in the desert

When thinking about salmon farming locations, Norway, Chile, and Scotland come to mind. Now, thanks to innovative thinking and collaboration, Dubai can be added to the list. Our salmon business in Scotland was part of the group to bring this vision to life.

The journey began back in 2017 when we were first approached by Fish Farm LLC based in Dubai. They are a multi aquaculture species production company, producing sea bass, sea bream, shrimp, grouper and now salmon. Sheikh Hamdan bin Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum – the Crown Prince of Dubai – has lent his support and direction to the project.

Fish Farm LLC had the vision to produce Atlantic salmon in Dubai, a difficult problem as naturally occurring freshwater is extremely rare in the desert. 90% or more of the salmon is imported into Dubai and is in high demand. Producing salmon in the country would mean huge gains in food security and sustainability.

There were many brainstorming sessions and trials before finding the solution to provide breeding stock for Fish Farm LLC. Transporting the salmon from Scotland to Dubai was one of the main problems to solve. Specialized live fish transport tanks were used to transport 40,000 juvenile salmon. Each trip was meticulously planned, shipping 37 transport tanks on 14 flights. Each journey from loading to unloading lasted 26 hours, and the total journey distance was 4,950 miles (7,975 km).

Once in Dubai, the salmon was placed in a state of the art recirculating aquaculture system (RAS). These systems continue to be more and more important in aquaculture. They help unlock farming opportunities in areas were traditional systems are simply not possible.

This project was a great example of how hard work, collaboration, and creativity can deliver solutions that enhance economic and environmental sustainability.

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