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UAQ fishermen have a boatful of complaints about new port

UMM AL QUWAIN// After moving to a port built and fashioned to promote their industry, fishermen are worried about a lack of basic amenities there, including water and electricity.

Damage to vessels has been reported by fishermen in the two weeks since they moved from Al Khor to Al Naqaa Port in Al Meydan.

Hussein Al Hajri, president of Umm Al Quwain Co-operative Society for Fishermen, said the breakwater was below wave height and caused damage to boats in stormy weather.

“The breakwater does not protect the harbour from the force of waves. And two weeks ago when the weather was stormy, about 15 boats were damaged,” Mr Al Hajri said.

The fisherman of Umm Al Quwain have asked the Government to address the lack of basic amenities such as water, electricity, lighting and storage space.

“After we speak about the troubles we are facing, we hope to reach to a solution and (there will be) action from the Government because the place is not suitable. The old one was much better,” said Emirati Ahmad Youssef, a fisherman for 20 years.

The 50-year-old’s main concern is a lack of storage place which could result in hundreds of thousands of Dirhams worth of damage to fishing equipment.

“We need storage. There are about 25 spaces for more than 200 fishermen. We have no place to put our gear. We have to leave them (nets) on the sidewalk and that damages them because they are placed under the sunlight,” said Mr Youssef.

Faisal Ali, 33, echoed Mr Youssef’s misgivings.

He owns four sets of nets that cost more than Dh200,000 each.

“If these nets get damaged, who will compensate us? As well, there is no quay for loading and unloading the fishing equipment, especially nets, and that has led us to put blankets down and carpets on the rocky barrier in order not to damage our nets,” said Mr Ali, who has been a fisherman for 15 years.

According to Fahad Mohammed, 45, the port entrance is another serious concern.

“It’s too narrow and might cause crashes. Only one boat can go in or out at a time. This causes congestion because all fishermen go for fishing (at once) and come back at the same time, so we are asking for an expansion,” the Emirati fisherman of 20 years said.

Mr Mohammed said that a lack of accommodation for labourers costs boat operators Dh30 for taxis each day.

Saif Salem, a fisherman from UAQ for 20 years, wants a fence around the port, surveillance cameras and security guards to prevent pilfering.

Fishermen also sat they need restrooms, fridges for storing fish, ice stores, and fresh water for cleaning their boats engines.

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The National