Dibba Bay Oysters achieves Friend of the Sea certification

Published on
September 13, 2022
Dibba Bay Oysters' farm in the U.A.E.

United Arab Emirates-based Dibba Bay Oysters has achieved the Friend of the Sea aquaculture certification, making it the only certified aquaculture farm in the region.

Located in Fujairah, on the east coast of the U.A.E, Dibba Bay Oysters is the only farm in the Middle East currently growing oysters at a commercial scale for human consumption. It now produces approximately 300,000 oysters a month and it continues to scale up production.

“Our mission as an oyster farm has always been to protect our oceans and involve sustainable practices in all aspects of our business to safeguard the integrity of aquatic life," Dibba Bay Oysters Founder and CEO Ramie Murray said. "We are proud to be acknowledged by Friend of the Sea for our sustainable farming practices. It’s important to us that there is an accredited third party certifying our work; Sustainability demonstrated with a third-party certification will help consumers choose more consciously."

The certification covers Dibba Bay's production of the Crassostrea gigas species. Since 50 percent of the company’s production is exported to Hong Kong, the Maldives, Seychelles, Mauritius, Oman, and other places, the certification also covers the traceability of Dibba’s packing and export operations.

The Friend of the Sea aquaculture standard seeks to minimize negative effects of the farm on the surrounding marine environment. This includes criteria requiring no impact on critical habitat, compliance with water-quality parameters, reduction of escapes to negligible levels, no use of harmful antifouling or growth hormones, social accountability, and continuous improvement of waste and energy management.

An example of Dibba Bay’s efforts towards sustainable management is the recycling of dried Dibba Bay oyster shells, according to Murray. These are returned to the ocean in non-pollutive gabion cylinders that are 80 centimeters high to act as building blocks to protect and offer substrate for coral growth in order to create new habitat for marine life.

“Obtaining this certificate proves not only that Dibba Bay conducts a responsible farming operation according to Friend of the Sea standards, but also that the company has a broader commitment to protecting the environment,” Founder and Director of Friend of the Sea Paolo Bray said.

As the first farm in the U.A.E. to receive this certification, Murray said Dibba Bay can better support the country’s food security goals by providing some of the first sustainable food product for local and international consumption.

Photo courtesy of Sarine Arslanian/Shutterstock 

Contributing editor reporting from Hawaii, U.S.A.

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