Dubai bans illegal traders from fishmarket

Sale of day's catch to be regulated by uniformed, licensed Emiratis to catch illegal vendors.

Dubai - August 24, 2009 - A stallworker (L) describes the differences between the prawns he has for sale to two men at the Dubai Fish Market in Dubai August 24, 2009.  (Photo by Jeff Topping/The National)  *** Local Caption ***  JT007-0824-OASIS FISH_MG_0023.jpg

DUBAI // The waters of the UAE provide rich pickings for Emirati fishermen. It is when they return to shore and have to sell their perishable catch to illegal vendors that their livelihoods begin to suffer. However, new regulations at the country's largest fish market, in Deira, are expected to change that. Dubai's civic authority said yesterday that illegal vendors would be banned from the market and the fish trade regulated. The day's catch will now be auctioned by uniformed, licensed Emiratis.

The Dubai Fishermen's Co-operative Association, which has about 600 members, all of them Emirati, will take charge of trade at Deira fish market to push out what they call "intruders", who have been purchasing catches from fishermen in the very early hours when legitimate companies may not be around. The fishermen sell to them because they worry their catch will spoil if they wait too long to sell it.

"Presently, intruders have taken control of the market. The market is unorganised and the fishermen are not getting their rightful profits," said Mohammed Julfar, assistant director general for corporate support at Dubai Municipality, which signed an agreement with the association yesterday. Representatives from the fishing community said yesterday they lose 40 to 50 per cent of their revenues to "illegal traders".

"Local men go to the sea for the catch each morning. While they have no problem in the fishing, they are losing out on the ground," said Hamad al Rhoomy, the general manager of the Dubai Fisherman Co-operative Association.