x Abu Dhabi, UAEMonday 24 July 2017

Caviar farm hatching a success

More than 80 per cent of the sturgeon eggs flown into Mussafah caviar farm have hatched successfully.

ABU DHABI // More than 80 per cent of the sturgeon eggs flown into the world's largest and most technologically advanced caviar farm this summer have hatched successfully.

The Royal Caviar Company flew in three kilos of eggs - about 120,000 - to its farm in Musaffah on July 20.

Muhaned Abu Awad, the factory manager, said the success rate of the first batch was higher than that of any caviar farm in Europe, where 50 to 60 per cent is typical.

Sturgeon are hard to breed successfully because they require specific conditions to thrive. That means their environment needs to be precisely monitored and regulated.

"It all depends on the effort you make on fixing all the parameters," said Mr Abu Awad. "We're very happy with the outcome."

The eggs usually take seven to 10 days to hatch. They now weigh 0.02 grams and measure 2 millimetres in diameter.

They will be moved to the hatchery area for the next eight months, until each fish weighs about 200g and is capable of living in a larger tank. There they will stay until reaching production stage, the age at which females can produce caviar and the males may be sold at market or used for breedstock - five years for the females and three for the males.

The farm will be making caviar much sooner, though, having bought young fish in addition to the eggs.

The first commercial batch of caviar and fillets is planned for the second half of 2012.

cmalek@thenational.ae