Preserving Emirati Fishing Heritage: Al Maleh and Fishing Festival Inspires Youth

The 10th edition of the Al Maleh and Fishing Festival took UAE residents on a journey back to the nation’s formative years when pearl diving and fishing were the economic backbone.

This festival’s highlight featured elder members from fishing families teaching children the ancestral arts of weaving nets, crafting traditional dhows, and salting fish for long-term preservation.

Organized by the Sharjah Chamber of Commerce and Industry (SCCI) in collaboration with the Municipality of Dibba Al Hisn, this event kicked off on Thursday evening at Dibba Al Hisn Island and will continue until September 3rd.

Hundreds of attendees flocked to the island to partake in educational sessions and entertainment. The festival showcased miniature models of historic boats, compasses, binoculars, coral reefs, and fishnet weaving, emphasizing the cultural importance of the fish salting industry.

Abdullah Ali Mohammed Mutawwa, a traditional dhow craftsman, delighted in sharing the history of Al Maleh’s products with young visitors. He noted, “This event celebrates our cultural and artistic heritage. The traditional techniques of Al Maleh-making, canning, and age-old fishing practices are deeply embedded in Emirati culture.”

Visitors were captivated by folklore heritage displays echoing the traditions of the East Coast. Abdullah Al Salami, a Fujairah resident with a strong fishing background, expressed his amazement at the innovative ideas used by ancestors, saying, “I have been fishing since childhood, but the methods employed by our forebears are truly remarkable.”

The festival encompassed a wide array of activities, including stalls offering dried fish, marine heritage products, a dedicated area for productive families, traditional cuisine, craft exhibitions, shipbuilding, and more. It also featured displays of modern fishing equipment, boats, motors, educational seminars, fish salting industry awareness workshops, and various cultural competitions.

To add to the experience, authentic Emirati seafood delicacies were prepared on-site, with stalls offering locally grown fruits, honey, spices, and other regional products.

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