Al Maleh and Fishing Festival Draws Crowds with Deep Dive into Traditional Maritime Practices

Sharjah, September 2, 2023

Day three of Al Maleh and Fishing Festival is in full swing, drawing crowds eager to delve into the heart of Emirati heritage. Organized by the Sharjah Chamber of Commerce and Industry (SCCI) along with Dibba Al Hisn City Municipality and Dibba Al Hisn Municipal Council, the festival shines a spotlight on traditional fish salting techniques, ancient fishing practices, and a curated display of handcrafted artifacts, offering visitors a tangible link to the storied past of Emirati ancestors.

Running until Sunday evening, the festival offers a comprehensive showcase of the fish salting industry and marine heritage. Through insights from fishermen and tales from ancestors, attendees explore various facets like sailing, shipbuilding, fishing, and traditional methods of fish preparation, salting, and canning. 

Alongside, the event is increasingly gaining momentum with a series of engaging heritage-focused activities, educational sessions, and entertainment tailored for diverse audience groups.

HE Mohammad Ahmed Amin Al Awadi, Director-General of SCCI, stressed that Al Maleh and Fishing Festival is a significant annual event that celebrates the depth and breadth of marine heritage, underscoring its role in illuminating the cultural importance of this heritage through history.

“In line with its commitment to societal responsibility and in collaboration with the event organizers, the Sharjah Chamber is dedicated to bolstering the festival and ensuring it remains a hallmark contribution to the UAE’s heritage, particularly enriching the cultural landscape of Dibba Al Hisn,” Al Awadi said. 

Mohammed Abdullah Al Dhahuri, a veteran of over 50 years in the fishing and fish salting industries, emphasized the profound legacy of these professions passed down by ancestors. Driven by a sense of preservation and appreciation, Al Dhahuri ardently participates in the festival each year, aspiring to acquaint newer generations with the time-honored techniques, particularly in the renowned fish salting industry, a cornerstone profession for coastal communities.

Abdullah Mohammed Ali Al Mutawa, with four decades in shipbuilding, commented, “Crafting wooden ships is among the UAE’s most ancient professions, serving as essential vessels for endeavors like pearl diving, fishing, and voyages both near and distant.”

He detailed the intricate process of constructing sizable boats, a labor-intensive endeavor spanning approximately three months, where work begins at dawn and concludes at dusk. Various types of wood and a plethora of tools are employed in the craft.

Open daily from 4 p.m. to 10 p.m., the festival offers attendees a diverse lineup of events, spotlighting marine crafts and age-old fishing techniques. In addition to cultural contests and showcases, the festival features artistic performances, traditional heritage tunes, and live music by prominent local bands.