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Emirates Signs MoU With Japanese University To Farm Bluefin Tuna

The UAE Ministry of Water and Environment has signed a memorandum of understanding with the Kinki University in Japan to cultivate Pacific bluefin tuna in the UAE.
“This is the first collaboration of this type between Japan and the UAE,” Senator Hiroshige Seko, also Deputy Chairman of Kinki University, told Khaleej Times. He noted that traditional relations for both countries were primarily on the oil and financial sectors.

According to the MoU, specialists from Kinky University will conduct a feasibility study on the possibility of bluefish farming in the UAE. “At the moment, only yellow fin tuna is available in the UAE,” Seko said on Monday.

Citing temperature as one of the major concerns of bluefin farming in the UAE, Seko said, “The Pacific bluefin tuna are very sensitive. They need between 25-28 C of seawater temperature in order to survive. The summer months in Japan are ideal egging season for the fish but in the UAE, this may pose a problem.”

He added that they are looking at the possibility of bringing male and female bluefin tunas into the country instead of eggs. “But this may also be a problem, so we’ll have to study the best approach,” said the Senator.

On Tuesday, the Japanese delegation from the university will be visiting the Umm Al Quwain Marine Research Centre to have a look at what is being done there.

“As per our knowledge, there are only three types of fishes being cultivated in the UAE, and one of them is grouper,” Dr. Osamu Murata, Director of the Fisheries Laboratory of Kinki University said.

According to Murata, the fish nursery at the university cultivates around 10,000 bluefin tuna every three years. “It takes three years for the eggs to grow to commercial size which is between 13kg to 60kg. Every year, we sell around 2,000 bluefin tunas,” he said.

Japan consumes around 200,000 tonnes of bluefin tuna annually. One kilo of bluefin tuna costs in Japan approximately Dh110 ($30).

Speaking to the Japanese delegation, Dr Rashid Ahmed bin Fahad, Minister of Environment & Water stressed the strong relationship that Japan and the UAE share. “We have long years of good relationship with Japan, both in culture and in business. And we look forward to having a project of this type in the UAE,” he said.