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Abu Dhabi, UAETuesday 25 September 2018

RAK fish markets to undergo upgrades following complaints of no air-conditioning

The development plan will include all three fish markets and will be carried out in the first quarter of 2018

RAS AL KHAIMAH. UNITED ARAB EMIRATES, 26 June 2017. Ras Al Khaimah fish marker near the fishermans port of RAK. (Photo: Antonie Robertson) Journalist: Ruba Haza. Section: National.
RAS AL KHAIMAH. UNITED ARAB EMIRATES, 26 June 2017. Ras Al Khaimah fish marker near the fishermans port of RAK. (Photo: Antonie Robertson) Journalist: Ruba Haza. Section: National.

Plans to redevelop Ras Al Khaimah’s fish markets will be launched next year, said the emirate’s municipality, after sellers and consumers complained of poor facilities.

Sellers said the move is needed to modernise the facilities for what is a crucial industry to the emirate, and keep their produce fresh and appealing to customers.

Ali Matar, 62, has been selling fish at Al Muairied market for more than 10 years. He said such plans should have been carried out some time ago, noting that the market in the Old City has been open for around 30 years.

“It’s not only a market. It’s also a tourist attraction and should have proper ventilation and air-conditioners to give customers and visitors the opportunity to roam around comfortably undisturbed by the smell and heat,” said the Emirati.

“Fixing and upgrading the current drainage network will reduce smells and odours, which is emitted from the ice melting off the fish, and will allow visitors to take their time shopping.”

He also said that vendors – who use anywhere between 20 to 50 kilogrammes of ice – will use 50 per cent less ice if there is proper air-conditioning. “It will save us money and effort trying to keep the fish fresh,” he said.

Ras Al Khaimah has three fish markets: one morning market with 38 stalls in the Old City, one evening market with 44 stalls in Al Muairied, and one with 10 stalls in Al Digdagah area.

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Emirati Ibrahim Al Shahi, who shops at the Al Muairied fish market, said customers tend to leave the area as quickly as possible because of the unpleasant smells.

“I go to the market, just pick what I want and leave immediately,” said the 47-year-old.

“The heat is unbearable in summer and it prevents many customers from spending too much time at the market.

“Fish is considered one of our favourite meals, and many residents visit the market at least three times a week, therefore such improvements should have been made years ago.”

For Emirati Sultan Al Batini, 53, it is important that the Ras Al Khaimah municipality take into consideration the “traditional spirit” of the fish markets. He buys his fish from the market in the Old City.

“It’s considered one of the emirate’s traditional markets, and we have great memories of it,” he said. “They shouldn’t do any major changes, especially to the outside, but only add some services and make improvements that will make everyone comfortable.”

RAK’s municipality said a comprehensive maintenance and development project plan is being designed to improve services.

“The development plan will include all three fish markets and will be carried out in the first quarter of 2018,” said Ayisha Darwish, head of the projects management department.

“The reason why air-conditioners are not currently available in the fish markets is because they were built many years ago.”

Meanwhile, the head of the public health department said fish markets are being monitored by specialised public health inspectors to ensure the validity and quality of displayed fish as well as the continuous availability of ice.

“We also inspect means of transport and supervise fish auctions and the behaviour of traders, along with the daily clean-up and disinfection process in all markets,” said Shayma Al Tunaiji

“Most common offences include insufficient amount of ice on the displayed fish or during storage, displaying fish unfit for human consumption.”

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