WHO THEY ARE
In line with our stance of providing customers with fresh, traceable produce from sustainable sources, Spinneys started working with Fish Farm LLC in late 2017. Founded in 2013, Fish Farm is a pioneering aquaculture company headquartered in Dubai that is comprised of an offshore farm located in Dibba, a hatchery in Umm Al Quwain, and an inland farming facility in Jebel Ali. The farm currently has the capacity to produce 2,000 tonnes of fish with 500 tonnes coming from its onshore facility and 1,500 coming from the enclosures in Dibba. Fish Farm produce first hit our shelves in November and has now been rolled out in select larger stores.
WHAT THEY DO
Fish Farm produces sea bream, sea bass and hammour, as well as yellow tail king fish, red sea bream and limited quantities of gabit and shaam, which are two local species. The fish take between 11 and 12 months to reach market weight – that’s typically 400 to 600 grams for sea bream. The fish are harvested at 6 o'clock in the morning ,and they should be in Dubai five or six hours from when they are taken from the sea. In comparison, imported fish is about two to three days old by the time it gets to Dubai. It then takes at least another day to be distributed, so the average fish is four days old by the time it gets to the supermarket.
Fish Farm’s aim is to minimise the effect it has on the environment. Farming local species allows the company to use its resources to help relieve the pressure on local fish stocks, and to support the surrounding community. For every tonne of fish that’s in the farm, that’s one tonne less that has to be fished from the wild. Fisherman still catch the fish, but they’re relieving the pressure on local endangered species.
In line with those upheld for all GCC countries, Fish Farm adheres to Halal requirements, but they also go one step further: The feed used at the fish farm is organic, completely traceable, and used in a way that has little to no impact on the environment. They also substitute some of the fish meal that they use with green protein, which comes from organic vegetable sources.
At Fish Farm’s Jebel Ali facility, the company produces the sea bass, sea bream and hammour that they currently supply to Spinneys. The room, nicknamed ‘Mission Control’, is where the recirculation tanks are monitored wouldn’t look out of place at NASA. Arguably one of the most high-tech fish farms in the world, they can control the oxygen, salinity, PH, and the current in which the fish swim.
Certain examples of badly executed fish farms have resulted in negative connotations when it comes to farmed fish, but Bader Obaid Mubarak, CEO & owner representative of Fish Farm, is keen to dispel this notion: “There should be no reticence whatsoever. Farmed fish is like any farmed animal. Fish is the only food that we still hunt. It is a healthy source of protein that has special nutritional values. It’s good brain food, it keeps cholesterol down, and is, in every single way, a very good food.”