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Oman: Mutrah Fish Suq

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Mutrah Fish Suq | Oman | Asia

[Visited: December 2010]

Expecting a lot of hassle and noise, many people, and even more fish, entering the fish market of Mutrah turned out to be a different place altogether. We just walked in, and found a quiet, small hall with pillars where Omani men dressed in traditional clothes were selling and buying fish. Negotiations were done in a low voice, and the overall atmosphere was a very relaxed one. We first walked around the market to explore the different sections, before we started to have a closer look at what was actually going on.

Picture of Mutrah Fish Suq (Oman): Fish on ice at the fishmarket of Mutrah

The main section of the market has stalls where fish are on display. We saw prawns, crabs, smaller fish, but also pretty big fish like barracuda. One trader was selling several shark fins, and considering the size, the shark must have been an awesome animal. We saw yellow spotted fish, red sea robin, fish with strange, pointed beaks, and other kinds. Most of the fish was still intact, but we also saw stalls where you could see the flesh of the fish - utterly fresh! One of the things that struck us, was the cleanliness of the place: it looked very hygienic and orderly. Friendly Omanis, most with white beards and in traditional clothes were gently talking to each other, gesturing with their hands - we did not hear anyone shout.

Picture of Mutrah Fish Suq (Oman): Looking into the fishmarket of Mutrah

The second section was different: this is where the fish are cleaned and cut. We found men sitting in lines, each in their own corner and with their own water tap. It looked a little like a communal shower area: white tiles on the wall, low stools, the men bent forward, concentrated on cleaning their fish. From here, buckets and wheel barrows of fish were taken to the stalls just next to the cleaning area. What is striking at the fish market: there are very few women around; it virtually is a men-only place. The other thing we noticed was that the Omanis left us very much alone - we were able to walk around the market almost without getting attention. When we left the market, there were less people than when we entered, and the sun was climbing the sky, above the cragged mountains surrounding the small port of Mutrah.

Picture of Mutrah Fish Suq (Oman): Stack of fish at the market of Mutrah
Picture of Mutrah Fish Suq (Oman): Using the scale at the fishmarket of Mutrah
Picture of Mutrah Fish Suq (Oman): Market vendors at work at the fishmarket in Mutrah
Picture of Mutrah Fish Suq (Oman): Lone red fish for sale
Picture of Mutrah Fish Suq (Oman): Close-up of fish at the market in Mutrah
Picture of Mutrah Fish Suq (Oman): Omani in traditional clothes about to have a drink
Picture of Mutrah Fish Suq (Oman): Omani salesman at the fishmarket
Picture of Mutrah Fish Suq (Oman): Fresh meat of a fish at the fishmarket
Picture of Mutrah Fish Suq (Oman): Fish at a stall at the fishmarket in Mutrah
Picture of Mutrah Fish Suq (Oman): Crabs for sale at the fishmarket
Picture of Mutrah Fish Suq (Oman): Preparing fish at the market sale: cleaning and cutting
Picture of Mutrah Fish Suq (Oman): Careful handling of fish: cutting and cleaning
Picture of Mutrah Fish Suq (Oman): Men loading fish into a truck at one side of the fishmarket

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