UAE: From weaving ropes to salting fish, how this festival is teaching kids the ancestral art of fishing

The festival focuses on the heritage, history, and significance of the fish salting industry

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SM Ayaz Zakir

/

Muhammad Sajjad

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Published: Fri 1 Sep 2023, 8:10 AM

Last updated: Sun 3 Sep 2023, 3:21 PM

The 10th edition of the Al Maleh and Fishing Festival, transported many residents back to the growing years of the UAE, when pearl diving and fishing were the dominant industries for the economy.

The highlight of the event was septuagenarians and octogenarians belonging to fishermen's families teaching young kids about weaving nets and ropes, the construction of the traditional dhow, and salting fish, which is then preserved for months in wooden or plastic containers.


This fishing festival was organised by the Sharjah Chamber of Commerce and Industry (SCCI) in partnership with the Municipality of Dibba Al Hisn.

The event launched on Thursday evening in Dibba Al Hisn Island will run until September 3rd.


Hundreds of residents made their way to the Island for entertainment and learning sessions. Kiosks showcased miniatures of old boats, compasses, binoculars, coral reefs, fishnet weaving, and much more. The festival focused on the heritage, history, and significance of the fish salting industry.

Abdullah Ali Mohammed Mutawwa, a traditional dhow manufacturer was very delighted to teach young visitors the history of Al Maleh's products. “This event is all about cultural and artistic activities. The traditional methods of Al Maleh-making, canning, and age-old fishing techniques are rooted in our Emirati culture."

The attendees were drawn to folklore heritage displays that resonate with the culture of the East Coast.

“I am a resident of Fujairah, and I have good knowledge about fishing. I have been going fishing with my father since my childhood. I still go fishing. But the ideas that were used by our ancestors were something very amazing, which I got to learn for the first time,” said Abdullah Al Salami.

“This is an opportunity for me to exchange knowledge about fishing and salting the fish,” said Al Salami.

Al Maleh and Fishing Festival featured a wide range of activities, such as stalls with dried fish, marine heritage products, a specific area for productive families, traditional meals, craft exhibits, shipbuilding and much more. There were also displays of contemporary fishing equipment, motors, boats, educational seminars, fish salting industry awareness workshops, and a variety of cultural competitions.

To top it all, authentic Emirati seafood delicacies were also prepared at the event, with many stalls offering locally grown fruits, and local products like honey and spices.

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