DM has registered 500 stalls to sell fish, 150 for fruit and vegetables, 72 for meat and 65 for dried fish
The tradition of fishing has been deeply rooted in the UAE’s culture as sailors traded for centuries between the Arabian and Indian seas, and that tradition will remain alive for generations to come with the launch of the new fish market in 2014.
The Deira Fish Market, which has been a tourist haven since it opened in 1988, is one of the city’s most popular landmarks, with scores of residents rushing there at the weekends to purchase the fresh catch of the day.
To keep the country’s heritage alive and still continue providing a service to residents, Dubai Municipality is currently overseeing the new development project of the new fish market in Deira, located opposite Dubai Hospital.
Hussain Nasser Lootah, Director General of Dubai Municipality, told Gulf News how important the project is to visitors as it will be under one roof with several other services, such as a fruit and vegetable market, coffee shops and a hypermarket.
“We want to provide a better facility to the customer and provide a wide range of choices under one roof, and the completely covered air-conditioned area will also facilitate the customer during the hot summer,” said Lootah. “The Fish Market will be a new attraction for Dubai as it is reflecting popular activities in a modern way.
“It will have a bigger show area, bigger storage area, with a direct link to the sea, and a special allocated area for the traders. There will be a sea-view restaurant with fully air-conditioned spaces, and this market will be a bridge between the tradition and the modernism as it is inspire a dialogue between past and future.”
Mohammad Mashroom, director of general projects department at Dubai Municipality, pointed out that the expansion of the fish market is being built at a cost of Dh250 million, and that the first phase of the project, which consists of setting up the premises and laying down the foundation, has been ongoing since the beginning of February.
“The project has been divided into three packages and the first one is already underway and will be completed within four months,” said Mashroom. “Accordingly, we expect the project to go to plan and will be completed by the end of 2014.” The current fish market lies next to Deira Corniche and is home to an abundant number of boats that dock there on a daily basis to sell their fish to vendors and visitors at auctions from as early as 5am.
However, the daily supply of fish not only comes through water channels but through air and land routes as well and includes frozen produce. Municipality officials confirmed that an average of 600 tons of fish and shellfish are transported to Dubai’s fish market on a daily basis. While the bulk of fish, such as hammour, sheri, red sea bream and sardines, comes from Abu Dhabi and Oman, a number of other imports includes salmon from Norway, tuna from Thailand and scallops from Canada.
In 2011, it was recorded that annual imports of seafood amounted to a total of more than $100 million (Dh367 million).
“The second phase consists of a marine package and that includes a walkway,” said Mashroom. “A key wall will also be constructed at a length of 600 metres, and that is what will separate the water and the land.
“A pontoon will be built, and that is one of the major features of the fish market as it will have a capacity of 65 boats, enabling them to load and unload their fish.” The third phase, which will be located near the pontoon, consists of a two-storey main building, which will accommodate 770 parking spaces in its basement floor.
The fish market will be located on the ground floor of the main building over a space of 35,000 square metres and will also include dry food, meat, fruit and vegetables.
Dubai Municipality was keen to point out that the new fish market will continue to sell organic vegetables and will maintain the contracts with nine local farms, which offer bundles of parsley, spring onion, coriander, mint or spinach for only Dh1 each.
The Emirates Authority for Standardisation and Metrology (Esma) certified 17 UAE organic farms in 2012 and others are under process.
“The civic body and the ministry are keen to support and encourage national farmers to produce organic fruits and vegetables and are ready to provide them with a suitable place to promote and sell their products. We will upgrade and expand the market in line with the new premises of the market,” said Obaid Ebrahim, head of the Assets Management Department at Dubai Municipality.
Dubai Municipality has already registered 500 stalls to sell fish, 150 for fruit and vegetables, 72 for meat and 65 for dried fish.