Time Frame: Out of the blue

For centuries, fishermen working off the east coast of the Emirates used traditional boats known as shasha, which were constructed from palm fronds.

Stems of the date palm were also used to build the traditional traps known as gargour which were dropped to catch fish.

There are still craftsmen in Fujairah who can make these boats. But as we can see in this 2011 photograph, fishermen in Fujairah no longer use boats made from date palms and oars have been replaced by powerful outboard engines. This week, fishermen said they faced financial ruin after authorities banned fishing for certain species at specific times.

Other new regulations curtailed fishing hours and what types of nets can be used.

I recently took a road trip from the Sharjah-enclave of Kalba north up the coast road to Dibba. Passing through these towns and villages, it was obvious how important fishing still is to these communities: boats lined the shore; fishermen mended nets; while new metal gargours were stacked on the piers.

It is important that depleted stocks of fish are given a chance to recover but equally important is preserving a traditional yet sustainable way of Emirati life.

* John Dennehy

Published: September 27, 2016 04:00 AM

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