The seafood processing industry in UAE is mainly concerned with the canning and persevering of seafood. The imports of raw fish are mainly sourced from Oman, Thailand, Vietnam, Philippines, India and Iran. It is further processed in plants and converted into a number of seafood preparations. Storage is a crucial element in seafood manufacturing. There are ample storage infrastructure in JAFZA and the rest of the Emirate. There are a number of challenges facing the seafood processing sector in UAE. Sourcing sufficient quality of fish in the global scenario of depleting fish reserves and disposal of waste generated are key issues. The challenges shaping commercial fishing such as regulation, legislations, changes in fish availability due to overfishing and migratory patterns, and vessel fuel patterns are also impacting the sector. The total market size was approximately AED 400mn in 2009. Overall Demand for seafood is expected to grow at the rate of 5% pa. The growth in demand will be driven by the expat base and the HRI sector demanding ready to cook fish (cleaned, frozen, chilled, fillet, breaded, etc)
- Fish Farming ( High Investment) : No major aquaculture industry in the country ( only one aquaculture farm on commercial scale in UAE producing approx. 1400 tons of local and exotic fish)
- Typical Capital Requirement for a large firm involved in chilling, freezing as well as
manufacturing value added products is 700-750 mn AED. Capital intensive business, requiring investment in terms of machinery and storage.
- Dubai has few seafood processing companies; out of which 2-3 are located in JAFZA (Gulf Sea Food, Gulf Food Industries and Al Mhail Fish manufacturing Factory). These export 40% of sea food preparations to Middle East, USA and Far East.
- Only 10 companies in UAE manufacture value added seafood producers most of which are located in Dubai (Al Kabeer) and Sharjah (Cascade Marine Foods Ltd.)
- No foreign players exist in processing of seafood
- Trading of Seafood products is popular: Traders deal in buying and selling of sea food preparations in UAE of which most are located in Dubai (Emirates Fisheries, Trans Ocean Sea
Food, Al Kaseb Foodstuff and Gulf Sea Fish Trading ) .DCCI estimates 19 companies which are involved in sera food trading.
- Best practice: Al Islami is one of the oldest firms, has earned many accolades; and a list of firsts, Halal food for children, 100% real Halal food, etc.