x Abu Dhabi, UAESaturday 22 July 2017

UAE caviar brand Yasa gets approval from United States

The UAE’s first caviar farm is set to begin exporting its signature caviar and sturgeon meat to the United States, following FDA approval.

The UAE’s first caviar farm has just won approval to export its signature product to the United States.

Emirates AquaTech, a 56,000 square metre indoor caviar farm in Abu Dhabi, said yesterday its Yasa-brand caviar and sturgeon meat has been approved by the US food and drug administration (FDA).

Ahmed Al Dhaheri, the company’s managing director and co-founder, said: “This is [a] testament to the quality and safety of our locally farmed products, and presents us with a significant opportunity to grow our business in one of the world’s largest markets.

“Connoisseurs across the US will now be able to purchase our high-quality products, whether it is fresh and pressed caviar, or fresh and frozen sturgeon fillets, and hot and cold smoked sturgeon fillets, along with a selection of seasoning products.”

The facility, based in the capital’s Musaffah area, opened in 2011 but its product hit UAE shelves only this May, when it debuted in the capital’s The Market in Mushrif Mall.

It spent the preceding years breeding the endangered Siberian sturgeon, as part of a drive to produce caviar in a sustainable manner. Mr Al Dhaheri said the company hoped to eventually produce 35 tonnes of caviar a year; meeting 10 per cent of the global demand for the product. Meanwhile, ensuring nothing goes to waste, the company also expects to reach a production of 700 tonnes of sturgeon meat annually.

The company uses technology to create optimal breeding and caviar production conditions at its indoor facility. It has a rotation system, where the fish are moved into larger containers as they grow older – until extraction, whereby the fish are slaughtered. This, according to Emirates AquaTech, ensures a balance is maintained between the number of sturgeon being bred, and the rates at which caviar is extracted.

The world’s largest and oldest environmental group, the International Union for Conservation of Nature, has listed the Siberian sturgeon as a vulnerable species. The sturgeon is overfished and has been forced out of many of its natural breeding sites by pollution, power plant development and other industrial activity.

Mr Al Dhaheri said the project was “not merely about producing caviar and making money.

“The other aspect of the project is the environment; the saving of the species. We want to make a wider range of products available in an environment where supply and demand can be controlled.”

halbustani@thenational.ae

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