During Al Maleh and Fishing Festival111-1693635603927
Abdullah Sultan Al Owais (second from right) and other officials at the opening of the Al Maleh and Fishing Festival in Dibba Al Hisn Image Credit: Supplied

Sharjah: Visit the Al Maleh and Fishing Festival in Sharjah to learn about the UAE’s fish salting industry and rich heritage.

The 10th edition of Al Maleh and Fishing Festival, one of the top heritage and tourism festivals devoted to the fish salting industry in the region, kicked off on Thursday in Dibba Al Hisn, Sharjah.

Organised jointly by the Sharjah Chamber of Commerce and Industry (SCCI), Dibba Al Hisn City Municipality, and Dibba Al Hisn Municipal Council, the festival will run until September 3. Drawing attention from a wide spectrum of attendees, the festival welcomed representatives from various ministries, government bodies, private sector firms, salted fish specialists, as well as the local fishing community and productive families.

Salting fish the traditional way, know as Al Maleh, is part of the culture of coastal communities of the UAE. It is less commonly seen now as the country transformed and utilised modern technology based alternatives to preserve and flavour the catch of the day.

The festival in the emirate of Sharjah aims to revive both the heritage and commerce associated with Al Maleh

The opening ceremony was attended by a host of dignitaries, including: Abdullah Sultan Al Owais, Chairman of the SCCI; Salim Ali Al Muhairi, Chairman of the Sharjah Municipal Council; Ahmed Abdullah bin Yarouf Al Naqbi, Chairman of the Dibba Al Hisn Municipal Council; Matar bin Ahmed Al Naqbi, Chairman of the Sharjah Fish Resources Authority (SFRA) and many other senior officials.\

Cultural performances

The festival’s agenda includes educational workshops on traditional crafts like Al Maleh creation, salting, canning, and more. 

Cultural performances including traditional segments, poetic recitals, and maritime tunes played by local bands, marked the opening ceremony.

During the ceremony, several government and private entities taking part in the festival were recognised for their support.

During Al Maleh and Fishing Festival 22-1693635606686
Abdullah Sultan Al Owais at the opening of the Al Maleh and Fishing Festival in Dibba Al Hisn Image Credit: Supplied

Additionally, there will be platforms showcasing traditional foods and heritage performances. A wide range of marine and maritime products including: traditional fishing tools, crafts, and other related items are part of the exhibits. Additionally, displays by families specialising in fish salting further enriched the visitor experience, offering insights into marine professions and the associated tools and crafts.

Abdullah Sultan Al Owais emphasised that Al Maleh and Fishing Festival aligns with Sharjah’s mission to highlight its heritage and uphold genuine Emirati traditions.

Honouring fish salting industry

This event has evolved into a yearly platform honouring the fish salting industry, a significant marker of ancient Emirati heritage.

Highlighting the festival’s economic value, Al Owais noted its pivotal role in promoting the sustainability of the fishing trade and bolstering interest in marine wealth. The festival underscores the importance of fish as an essential pillar of the nation’s food security.

Talib Abdullah Al Yahyai highlighted that the Emirate of Sharjah stands as a beacon for organising prominent heritage festivals, setting a precedent in preserving the UAE’s rich cultural heritage.

The Al Maleh and Fishing Festival is a testament to Sharjah’s trailblazing initiatives in this domain. The annual event not only champions the broader nation’s folklore specifically that of Sharjah but also supports and bolsters the growth and sustainability of the fishing industry.

On the first day, the festival drew thousands of visitors from across the UAE.

The festival boasts several sections such as the “Maleh Market”, the “Productive Family” section, and the “Agricultural Crops” displays.

Beyond the main attractions, the festival offers a bustling restaurant market, daily contests, displays of traditional crafts, and a range of heritage-themed activities.

Entry is free and doors are open from 4pm to 10pm.