Before the invention of Oil, fishing was a serious industry within the United Arab Emirates. But after the invention of oil, like many other traditional activities, it began to decline. With the economic boom brought forward by oil production, the population became increasingly urbanized with better education and career opportunities.
As such the number of Emiratis employed in the sector has been declining. Moreover with environmental degradation and overfishing, the wild stock has fallen to only 20% of the 1970’s level consistent with the Environment Agency in Abu Dhabi .
In the case of orange-spotted grouper locally referred to as Hamour, an area favorite, the stock stands to only 10% of the 1970’s level within the local waters (EAD, 2003). In 2011 only 46,000 plenty of capture production happened in UAE (FAO, 2012).
UAE may be a country with a high seafood per capita consumption of 28.6 kg/year as per FAO (2012). Most of the nation’s demand is met by imports. Interest in aquaculture has been increasing in recent times to reduce the dependency on imports for food security and as a commodity to export as the country is the biggest re-exporter within the region, exporting seafood caught by the neighboring Oman and Yemen.
The government is additionally particularly curious about aquaculture, as unlike fruits and vegetable farming, marine aquaculture doesn’t strain the valuable water resources by using only seawater. Currently, the UAE’s aquaculture production Fish Trading Business Setup in UAE is minimal with producing only 172 tons
Most of the aquaculture development within the country is carried out by Marine Environment Research Centre (MERC) established in 1984. The research center is involved in re-stocking the waters with local species by producing fingerlings.
Till date fingerlings of species like white-spotted spine foot, orange-spotted grouper, large scale mullet, and sobriety sea bream are produced as a way of annual restocking program which is released into the sea.
The MERC with the Ministry of Environment and Water has recently begun to concentrate to draw in more private sectors into aquaculture activities. To support the aquaculture development they provide fingerlings, mangrove seedlings, and technical assistance.