The Maldives has made a name for itself as a delightful holiday destination with sun, surf and sand of a premier order. The Maldives contains powder-soft beaches and sapphire waters that will enchant even the most jaded visitor, but the traveller who desires to experience the traditional mode of life of the local Maldivians would do well to visit the Maldives fish market.
The fish market located to the west of Republic Square on the beach front is always a remarkable spectacle for the visitor. The market is the primary place of interaction for the sale of a vast array of seafood as well as fresh local produce.
The area bustles with activity, and the visitor will see a multitude of the local wooden dhoni vessels – robust craft ideally suited for transport within the Maldives – unloading such items as dried fish, vegetables and fruits transported from the many atolls of the Maldives. Meanwhile the onlooker will also see outbound vessels being loaded with everything from construction materials to foodstuffs. The visitor will notice the hand of modernity with the dhonis featuring potent engines and facilities such as GPS.
As its name suggests the Maldives fish market is primarily a marketplace for sea creatures and a mind-boggling array of sea denizens may be seen in the market. Pride of place goes to the tuna fish, abundantly found in Maldivian waters. Activity at the fish market takes on added vigour in the midafternoon when fishing dhonis begin to arrive with their daily catch. Notably most of the fishermen will have been at sea since dawn or earlier, trawling the waters for their livelihood.
The visitor will see the fishing craft arriving at Male’s inner harbour which adjoins the fish market. The catch is brought on to the tiled floor of the market, and almost as soon as the fish have been deposited they are enthusiastically purchased by locals of every walk of life.
Throughout the history of the Maldive Islands fishing has been the lifeblood of the Maldivian people. Even today about 50 % of the Maldivian workforce is engaged in the business of fishing. Fish and other seafood features prominently in the Maldivian diet, with many dishes including the bounties of the seas.