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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 the city of Dibba Al Hisn.
Organised collaboratively 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.
The opening ceremony was attended among others by 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; Sulaiman Abdullah Suleiman bin Sarhan Al Zaabi, Head of the Municipal Affairs Department in Sharjah; Matar bin Ahmed Al Naqbi, Chairman of the Sharjah Fish Resources Authority (SFRA); and Dr. Mohammed Abdullah bin Huwaiden, Chairman of Al Dhaid Municipality Council.
Also present were Dr. Rashid Khamis Obaid Al Naqbi, Chairman of Khorfakkan Municipal Council, a number of members of the Chamber's Board of Directors, Mohammad Ahmed Amin Al Awadi, Director-General of SCCI, Abdul Aziz Shattaf, Assistant Director-General for the Communications and Business Sector; SCCI, Talib Abdullah Al Yahyai, Director of Dibba Al Hisn Municipality, Hamad Rashid Mohammed bin Masoud Al Tunaiji, Director of the Municipality of Al Dhaid City, HE Ahmed Sultan Al Dhahouri, Deputy Chairman of Dibba Al Hisn Municipal Council, and Khalil AlMansouri, Director of Expo Khorfakkan.
This is in addition to members of the city's municipal council, a number of directors of federal and local government departments in the city, and representatives of the entities participating in the festival.
A rich tapestry of cultural performances marked the opening ceremony, including traditional segments, poetic recitals, and maritime tunes played by local bands. These acts celebrated the unique heritage of the Emirati people.
During the ceremony, several government and private entities taking part in the festival were recognised for their support. Following the inaugural event, attendees explored the festival grounds, where they were introduced to a range of marine and maritime products. Participants showcased traditional fishing tools, crafts, and other 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 rejuvenate its heritage, uphold genuine Emirati traditions, and foster generational communication. 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. Remarkably, over its ten editions, the festival has drawn thousands of attendees from across the nation, resulting in impressive sales and returns for exhibitors.
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 and specifically that of Sharjah but also fervently supports and bolsters the growth and sustainability of the fishing industry.
On the first day, the festival drew thousands from various emirates, all eager to immerse themselves in the event's rich heritage ambience, unique activities, and diverse cultural contests that were specially curated to commemorate the festival's tenth edition.
The event boasts several highlights, including the "Maleh Market", the "Productive Family" section, and "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.
The event doors stay open for visitors each day from 4 p.m. to 10 p.m.
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