Sunday, 1 March 2009

Deira Fish Market

Feb 06 2009 Fri 5:30 a.m
A Tale of Tails

The fish market on Shindaga Tunnel is one of the busiest places on Dubai during the wee hours of the morning.
While the rest are all asleep from an all night party, or from any popular Thursday night vice, the atmosphere here is quite the opposite.
Fish traders, vendors and hagglers flock the fish stalls all hoping to have a good deal from the freshest catch in town.

Well, as you know the "fresh catch on the Thursday night" on the other side where the light is red is quite stale by now. haha

Ummm, kidding aside the place reminded me of the fish market of General Santos City with the exception of the hulking tunas and other gigantic gilled ( is there such a word?) and finned creatures. I have to admit, Deira fish market lags far behind by comparison.
But the place still proved to be interesting enough for the weekend enthusiast snapper (no not the red one) wanting to catch something fresh and smelly.

A typical scene. The action is just starting. Lots of activity around by the time we arrived.

The gapping mouth of a very fresh brown spotted grouper known locally as Hammour. Probably the most popular and favorite fish among the locals and some expats. We call it "lapu lapu"
Most Pinoys still prefer the tilapia and galunggong. hehe
IMO, i buy one of these from good deals whenever i find one, since i cant afford to eat this luxury back home. But here, this is ordinary mans food.

The Butcher

Retails for the small time buyer. You can get the fish cleaned and sliced too. Thats a juicy piece of King Fish or Tangigue as we call it.

A barrowful of tuna.

Fortunately the vendors are very accommodating when you try to photograph them. They don't complain and they even stop to pose for a shot.
When we said we are from the local newspaper, they gleefully complied for shots hoping to have their faces on the local paper by tomorrow. haha
But it will make our shot look like a "friendster shot" not that these people have friendster accounts, so we asked them to just go on with their work as we try to compose a frame.

The scene outside the stalls are more interesting than what's inside. Here is where the real action is.

A man ponders on Barracudas.

A large guitar fish.

Small sharks lined up waiting to be bought. The story behind is really quite gloomy for the sharks. As Dubai as no current legislation for catching sharks, it has been estimated that close to a hundred thousand sharks are caught every year on the gulf waters. Some of the catch come from the neighboring Oman.


Another big catch. A really gruesome scene. I dont know the specie. Im no shark expert but it looks like a blacktip shark.


Sharks are the top predator on the marine food chain. And they sort of clean up the sea as well by feeding on dead fish. But they are just defenseless prey for humans. Sharks are killed for their fins which sells for a hefty price for the right buyer.

Up close and personal (photo courtesy of edouard)

No i don't promote killing of sharks but i cant miss the opportunity of having my mugshot taken beside one. This one is big enough to chew my head off.

Tilted horizon (Sorry i forgot the rules)

As the morning lightens up, stocks of fish are brought out from the storage tanks.

My fish are blurred ( sorry again, i only meant to depict action)

As the new day begins, my shoot ends here. I smell of fish by now.

We headed for the nearby souks

The nearby Gold Souk.

but Its too early for gold. The shops are still closed.

Made in Pakistan

Urban Decay

We passed by some ruins and saw a potential spot for another outdoor fashion shoot hehe.
But it gave me another idea somehow.
There is an abundance of colors, textures and shadows on that place.
If you only know where to look.

Definitely i will be going back to this place again....


  1. nice to know they returned your cards bro. hope see the photos here in your blog soon :)
    Fave ko yang urban decay photo!

  2. hey great post buddy..congrats on your good blog

  3. Hey.. thanks for your most educational post! was googling deira fish markets when this popped up! Since I'm stationed in Dubai toom I guess I'll be visiting this a lot more in future. Keep the great posts coming!

  4. Hi Amazing photos i was searching the internet to see if i could find any contacts as i sell fish from scotland do you know any of the companies there Thanks Ronan