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"Aquaculture, not the Internet, represents the most promising investment opportunity of the 21st Century."

- Peter Drucker, Management Expert & Economist


Middle East's First Aquaculture Exhibition Launches as Industry Investment Surpasses $12 Billion

UAE - AquaME, formally a vertical of the AgraME exhibition, will become the regions first standalone platform dedicated to the burgeoning aquaculture and fishing industry.

The show, which will take place on 16-18 March 2015 at the Dubai Exhibition and Convention Centre, has been officially launched in partnership with the Ministry of Environment and Water and Nor-Fishing Foundation, and will feature a dedicated conference, the regions first aquaculture awards ceremony and a dedicated business to business buyer programme.

At the official signing of the partnership, His Excellency Abdelrahim Al Hammadi - Assistant Undersecretary of Support Services for the Ministry of Environment and Water said: "We are very pleased with this partnership which is a move to consolidate and encourage investment in the aquaculture sector. This falls in line with the UAE's strategic objectives to promote food security and environmental sustainability contributing to the UAE's Vision 2021."

According to the Ministry of Environment and Water, the total current market valuation of investments in to the UAE aquaculture sector stands at $321 million, with 20 million of that amount being invested in to the Sheikh Khalifa Bin Zayed Al Nahyan Marine Research Centre. The project, which was launched in February 2013, aims to enhance the country's natural resources, and contribute to food security through protecting overexploited species and supporting their habitat.

There are currently nine registered farms in the UAE, with five still under development, all of a different scale and integrated culture systems. The UAE aquaculture production in 2012 was 540 tons of wet fish, while total production capacity of these farms stands at 4903 tons per year.

"The decision to create the regions first exhibition dedicated to aquaculture was not a tough one. In a nutshell, it is the fastest growing food processing industry in the Middle East, and to put it in to perspective, a recent report by The World Bank projected aquaculture production in MENA is set to rise 75.9 per cent by 2030, hitting a production size of approximately 1.9 million tons. This incredible growth could simply not be ignored," said Richard Pavitt, Exhibition Director, AquaME.

Saudi Arabia and Oman round-up the total investment figure. The Saudi Arabian Ministry of Agriculture, who are leading the way in terms of investment, will inject an additional $10.6 billion into aquaculture projects to produce one million tons of fish in the next sixteen years. Oman, which has long been at the forefront of aquaculture in the Gulf region, announced that it plans to invest $1.3 billion in fisheries development leading up to 2020.

"Feedback from the industry was clear. We had a 64 per cent increase in visitors to AgraME earlier this year, who attended to specifically source companies from the aquaculture and fishing industry. We have tried to create a holistic approach to this exhibition, integrating the regions first dedicated conference agenda on aquaculture, a buyer's programme and an industry awards ceremony," added Mr Pavitt.

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