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NEW LIFELINE FOR FISHERMEN

Shaikh Isa tours the exhibition

Bahrain festival showcases fishing techniques

MANAMA, November 14, 2014

Bahrain’s first-ever fishing festival got underway at Hidd Port, showcasing traditional and modern fishing techniques from around 100 local exhibitors.

The three-day event was opened by Shaikh Isa bin Salman Al Khalifa, son of the Crown Prince and Vice-Chairman of the Rashid Equestrian and Horseracing Club, said a report in the Gulf Daily News (GDN), our sister publication.

Organised by the Municipalities and Urban Planning Affairs Ministry, the festival gives visitors the chance to take part in boat modelling, pearl diving and fishing competitions, as well as buy fresh catch from a new fish market that opened last night in the port.

A children's corner has also been set up with a storytelling section, maritime-themed games, rides and an aquarium.

Municipalities and Urban Planning Affairs Minister Dr Juma Al Ka'abi, Housing Minister Bassem Alhamer, Works Minister Essam Khalaf and other dignitaries were present.

Al Ka'abi told the GDN that the festival was envisaged as an annual event, aimed at shedding light on the fishing industry.

"This is a first for this year, but more are sure to follow - especially given the feedback we have already received from fishermen and visitors," he said.

"Fishermen are important to us and protecting their trade comes as a top priority to the government."

Dr Al Ka'abi used the event to announce a new government insurance scheme, which will pay compensation to any fishermen whose boats are damaged while out fishing.

"There are several projects that we have initiated like artificial breeding and coral reefs and now we are going to help licensed fishermen who see their boats catch fire or get damaged while they are practicing their profession," he said.

"We have also launched schemes with Tamkeen and the Bahrain Development Bank for young Bahrainis who are interested in the profession, which will give them low-interest loans to help them start their business. More financial support plans are on the way."

However, studies would have to be undertaken before too many new licences are issued, the minister cautioned, so that fish stocks do not become exhausted.

"The traditional fishing industry is being swamped by new advancements in the field and while we encourage fishing in general, heritage has to be preserved, as some fish are on the verge of extinction," he said.

The festival's opening ceremony yesterday featured sea dances by the Galali Traditional Group, while Shaikh Isa honoured retired fishermen before touring the exhibition. It is free to attend and open to the public today from 3pm to 9pm and tomorrow from 10am to 9pm. - TradeArabia News Service




Tags: Bahrain | port | Hidd | Fishing | techniques |

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