We interview Lachlan Gyde, executive director, asset management, Ithra Dubai L.L.C, for a look at a celebration of what was once the UAE’s main trade and source of wealth.
What inspired you to start celebrating the fishermen community and for how long has the Biggest Catch celebration been running?
The Waterfront Market’s Biggest Catch is a yearly celebration which has been running for three years now. It’s a humbling day of celebrations which honours the UAE’s roots and educates new generations of what was once the UAE’s main trade and source of wealth. We just hosted the Biggest Catch last week and can’t wait for next year’s celebration already.
It comes naturally to Dubai’s Waterfront Market being the region’s biggest and most successful fresh fish market to want to celebrate the cultural and historic value of the fishermen, and celebrate the individuals involved in such an important industry. It’s important to honour one of the deeply embedded traditions in the UAE’s culture and the well-respected fishing community who contribute to making the Waterfront Market what it is today. We wholeheartedly thank the fishing community for their continuous hard work and contribution to our society.
Why is it important to honour the UAE’s fishermen community?Honouring the people behind such an important sector not only in the UAE but in many Gulf countries is key as it is also a traditional occupation which once shaped the UAE’s trade and was the main source of wealth. It is simply paying homage to one of the country’s most important and culturally embedded tradition. Plus the people involved in the industry are amongst the hardest working folks I have ever had the pleasure to meet.
How does the Waterfront Market Fish auction work and for how long has it been running? What are the timings of the auction?
Dubai’s Waterfront Market seafood auction has been running for almost three (3) years, in its current location, every night all year round – 365 days per year. The auction commences at 10pm when the fishermen motor back from their fishing trips and start unloading their fresh catch up at the waterfront pontoon until the early hours of the morning 6am. The auction’s day prices generally starts at the previous day’s closing price and the average daily number of businesses that participate in the auction exceeds 1,000.
It’s awe-inspiring to see the activity at the Waterfront Market’s auction as over 100 tonnes of fish are bought and sold each night through old fashion auctioning with the hustle-and-bustle of the bidders shouting prices and quantities. Fish and seafood varies between small, medium and big fresh local fish and fresh international fish coming from Khasab city, Northern Oman’s Musandam Peninsula, and frozen seafood arrives daily for overseas markets such as India, Sri Lankan, Pakistan and Thailand. We regularly receive enquiries from other countries wishing to trade with us at the Waterfront Market
Is the auction open to the public? Please share further information on who participates?
The auction is generally restricted to registered traders and buyers mainly due to the frantic pace and activity that occurs, so more for safety purposes.
However, the general public can purchase the cheapest and freshest fresh fish and seafood in Dubai from the fish and seafood market 24/7.
The Waterfront Market auction participants varies between local, regional and global sellers where 60% is purchased by restaurants, hotels, supermarkets and food exporters in the UAE exporting to KSA and Egypt and 40% is purchased by the Waterfront Market tenants for retail sale at the fish market.
Is the Waterfront Market the main place where Dubai Hotels and restaurants purchase their fresh food and produce from? Who are your clients and are they limited to Dubai or do they come from across the UAE?
The Waterfront Market offers the freshest seafood and fish in Dubai at the most competitive prices, it’s definitely the main fish market that attracts renowned names from the hospitality and food and beverage industries, the likes of Lulu Hypermarkets and Al Madina Hypermarkets and even Emirates airlines get their fish and seafood from the Waterfront Market.