How to start a fish trading business in Dubai

fish trading license Dubai

You may not think it to look at the emirate now, but Dubai was once a humble fishing village. Since the 1960s, many skyscrapers have popped up, many businesses have opened their doors, and the boats in the harbour are a little more lavish. But fish trading remains a thriving industry out here.

So much so that fish and related products account for around 9% of total food sales in Dubai. And the industry is expected to see compound annual growth of 4.7% in the period between 2020 and 2025.

With the Persian Gulf on our doorstep and direct trade links with many of the world’s largest and growing markets, there can be few better locations than the Emirates for the would-be seafood trader.

And, with the support of a local expert, the process around fish trading business setup in Dubai, UAE, doesn’t have to be complicated. Here’s everything you need to know to get started.

What are the benefits of setting up a fish trading business in the UAE?

The list of reasons to start a trading business in Dubai could fill an article on its own. For starters, the emirate is ideally placed to trade with almost every corner of the globe via land, air, and sea.

These incredible trade links are bolstered by Dubai’s numerous free zones, each offering 100% customs tax exemption, zero currency restrictions, and capital and profit repatriation.

When it comes to fish trading specifically, the benefits keep coming. The UAE offers easy access to some of the world’s business fishing waters, while on dry land, our population has a seemingly insatiable appetite for seafood.

According to the Arab Organisation for Agricultural Development on Fish, annual consumption in the UAE is 33 kilos per person. That’s almost double the international average.  

Steps to start a fish trading business in the UAE

When you work with Trade License Zone, our expert team can help you set up your fish trading business in just a few simple steps.

1. Choosing your activities

First things first, you’ll need to clearly outline the fishing activities you wish to perform. For example, do you intend to register boats and catch fish for sale, or do you wish to buy fish once caught and package them for sale?

You are free to carry out both of these activities and more, but each must be clearly defined on your license application.

2. Choosing your company name

You will also need to choose a company name before making your application. It is important that you comply with the UAE’s naming criteria.

You cannot include any offensive or blasphemous language, nor any references to Allah or Islam in your company name, and if you wish to include your name in your company name, you must use it in full rather than just your surname or initials. You must also check that your chosen name is available to be registered.

3. Applying for your license

At this stage, we will help you obtain your trade and fishing license. Depending on the type of business you are setting up, there may be several steps to this process. 

You will need to apply for your trade license directly to the Dubai Department of Economic Development (DED). Or, if setting up in a free zone, you should apply to the relevant authority.

If you intend to catch and sell fish, you will also need to obtain a fishing license. This application should be made to the Environment Department at the Dubai Municipality.

4. Applying for your visa

You can make your visa application at the same time as applying for your company license. You can do this yourself, or, once again, Trade License Zone can manage the application as part of the business incorporation process. It is also possible to sponsor others for their UAE visas too, such as your children, partner or parents.

5. Opening your corporate bank account

The final requirement before you are ready to trade in Dubai is a corporate bank account.

Dubai is home to a wide range of banking institutions, both local banks and international brands. However, bank account opening can be a complex process for overseas business owners, so it is best to make your application with the help of an expert that is well-versed in the process and its requirements.

Documents required to start a fish trading business in Dubai, UAE

When applying for your fish trading license, you will need to supply a few details about your business, a copy of your passport, and a completed application form. To gain your fishing license, you will also need to supply your boat license, proof of residency, and an employment contract if applicable.

Setting up as a fish trader in Dubai

The process of setting up in Dubai has been designed with simplicity in mind. That said, it does take some in-depth knowledge of the UAE and its many customs and regulations.

That’s why it’s always advisable to acquire the services of a business setup company that can not only advise on the process but also seek out the most suitable license and setup type for your business, based on your needs and your budget.

When you use business setup services, you also gain peace of mind that your license and visa applications are free from errors and omissions – both of which can lead to delays and rejection.

When you work with a company formation specialist, all you need to provide is some basic documentation and a little information about the nature of your business. Then, sit back and let the experts take care of the rest – managing your license and visa applications, communicating with all relevant departments and authorities, and reporting back when you’re ready to start trading. It really is that simple.