Saudi Arabia’s Farasan Island celebrates its annual fishing season

Saudi Arabia’s Farasan Island celebrates its annual fishing season
Kunnah season in Jazan region witnesses an abundance of fish of different types, including the kingfish and parrotfish or Hipposcarus harid. (Supplied)
Short Url
Updated 04 May 2022

Saudi Arabia’s Farasan Island celebrates its annual fishing season

Saudi Arabia’s Farasan Island celebrates its annual fishing season
  • The festive fishing season called Kunnah continues until the end of June

JEDDAH: Every year around this time, fishermen from the Jazan region, specifically Farasan Island, prepare for a festive fishing season called Kunnah, derived from the Arabic word for kingfish, kana’ad.

Kunnah season indicates the beginning of summer and continues until the end of June.

It witnesses an abundance of fish of different types, including the kingfish and parrotfish or Hipposcarus harid.

Farasan Island is located 50 km offshore from Jazan, the far southwestern part of Saudi Arabia, and is among the largest islands in the Red Sea.

The fishing seasons in the region vary across its territorial waters, extending over the Red Sea, representing about 35 percent of fish production in the Red Sea and about 20 percent of the Kingdom’s fish production. 




Kunnah season in Jazan region witnesses an abundance of fish of different types, including the kingfish and parrotfish or Hipposcarus harid. (Supplied)

One of Farasan’s most experienced fishermen, Madani Hunaishi, said people linked the Kunnah season with kingfish because it passed through the islands during its annual migration season from the north side of the Red Sea in Jazan to its southern area, bearing eggs to begin its breeding cycle.

Kingfish are often caught with large nets. But in Jazan they have special fishing rituals. Fishing trips begin at night and the fish are attracted by lighting.

They are caught in huge quantities by Jazan fishermen, then distributed around the Kingdom, including Jeddah and Riyadh, where the larger size of this fish is in high demand.

“Kingfish auctions begin in the central fish markets for the larger sizes, as huge ones are sold at a price ranging between SR600 to SR1,500 ($150 to $400),” Hunaishi told Arab News.

Kunnah season is also known to be the season of the parrotfish. The people of Jazan receive it annually with singing, drums, dancing, and more because of all the bounties that come with it.

In a phenomenon particular to Jazan, Hipposcarus harid gather in shoals swimming in synchronicity to form a giant ball of over a thousand fish.

HIGHLIGHTS

• One of Farasan’s most experienced fishermen, Madani Hunaishi, said people linked the Kunnah season with kingfish because it passed through the islands during its annual migration season from the north side of the Red Sea in Jazan to its southern area, bearing eggs to begin its breeding cycle.

• Kingfish are often caught with large nets. But in Jazan they have special fishing rituals. Fishing trips begin at night and the fish are attracted by lighting.

This year marked the 18th annual Harid fishing festival, which is held in the region to celebrate the fishing of Hipposcarus harid.

This type of fish features bright colors and different sizes. They change color as they grow, and the color varies between males and females. They are considered parrotlike as they have teeth that they use to scrape food off coral reefs.

The National Center for Wildlife tweeted an infographic saying that this group of coral reef fish inhabited coastal areas of tropical oceans such as the Western Indian Ocean, the Red Sea, and the waters around Mozambique, Madagascar, Seychelles, Sri Lanka, and the Maldives.

Jazani people have been familiar with this annual phenomenon for generations, and this knowledge is how the Harid Festival emerged.

Jazan Gov. Prince Mohammed bin Nasser said during the inauguration of this year’s festival that studies were being conducted on the phenomenon of Hipposcarus harid appearing at this time of the year on the Farasan Islands.

He also said the study would clarify the method of Hipposcarus harid migration, from where it originated to where it arrived, adding that while there was preliminary information, there was a desire to provide in-depth studies on this phenomenon.

Jazan resembles a floating city during the festival due to the large number of fishing boats present and the sea becoming illuminated at night. The activity and events attract visitors from outside Jazan and the Kingdom.

As a result of the many fishing seasons during the year, the Jazan region produces about 11,000 metric tons of fish annually, with over 3,200 fishermen working along the coasts and benefiting from 17 fishing ports.

They sail daily during the season on 1,657 boats, contributing to the investment in fisheries and preserving the fishing profession.

To protect the marine environment from pollution and the water resources in the region, the Fisheries Research Center supervises the sector through inspection tours to control and regulate fishing and stop those who violate the system.


The Saudi Cancer Society launches Hayat initiative

The Saudi Cancer Society launches Hayat initiative
Updated 15 sec ago

The Saudi Cancer Society launches Hayat initiative

The Saudi Cancer Society launches Hayat initiative
  • The initiative provides psychological support and recreational programs to cancer patients struggling with mental health

 

RIYADH: The Saudi Cancer Society has launched its Hayat initiative, Saudi Press Agency (SPA) reported.

Hayat provides psychological support sessions and recreational programs to cancer patients who are struggling with their mental health.

According to the association, the Hayat initiative is based on the values upon which it was founded, which includes reducing the effects of cancer on patients, their families, and society by providing services that allow patients to complete their treatment journey.

Other social services provided by the association include transportation, housing, financial assistance, and psychological support.

Community members can also support cancer patients by donating to one of the initiatives in the association’s online store.


Over 2,000 Pakistani volunteers assist Hajj pilgrims arriving in Saudi Arabia

Over 2,000 Pakistani volunteers assist Hajj pilgrims arriving in Saudi Arabia
Updated 2 min 22 sec ago

Over 2,000 Pakistani volunteers assist Hajj pilgrims arriving in Saudi Arabia

Over 2,000 Pakistani volunteers assist Hajj pilgrims arriving in Saudi Arabia
  • This year, 81,132 Hajj pilgrims will come from Pakistan
  • Volunteers offer assistance and advice to worshippers during their pilgrimage

ISLAMABAD: More than 2,000 Pakistani volunteers have been assisting pilgrims arriving in Saudi Arabia for this year’s Hajj, senior officials told Arab News, ahead of the annual pilgrimage set to commence this week.

One of Islam’s five main pillars of faith, the Hajj was restricted over pandemic fears to just 1,000 people living in the Kingdom in 2020 and 60,000 domestic participants last year, compared with the pre-pandemic levels when up to 2.5 million pilgrims could attend.

This year, with the Hajj pilgrimage set to begin on July 6 and Saudi Arabia having lifted its COVID-19 curbs, the Kingdom will welcome 1 million domestic and foreign pilgrims — and 81,132 of them will come from Pakistan.

Over 2,000 Pakistani volunteers have been assisting Hajj pilgrims from the South Asian country, more than half of whom are Pakistani expats living in Saudi Arabia.

Abrar Ahmed Mirza, Pakistan’s director general of Hajj in Jeddah, told Arab News that “410 Pakistanis who are working in the Kingdom have joined our Hajj mission as local volunteers, while 810 have come from Pakistan.”

The other volunteers had signed up through the Saudi-based Pakistani Hajj Volunteers Group (PHVG), and had received training before they began offering help and advice to the worshippers.

“This year around 750 volunteers will work,” Muhammad Ismail, a central coordinator with the PHVG, told Arab News.

“As per our policy, all volunteers have gone through two mandatory training sessions and are subsequently required to pass an online exam.”

The volunteers are tasked with helping pilgrims get food, access transport, and provide emergency medical aid when required.

Hidayat Ullah, a Pakistani expatriate living in Madinah, said he took leave from his office to join the volunteer mission.

“This is the fourth time I am serving as a volunteer. I am doing this just to serve our country’s pilgrims,” he told Arab News.

Jawad Shafique, another Pakistani volunteer based in Makkah, told Arab News that he wants to help ensure that pilgrims have a smooth stay in Saudi Arabia during their trip.

“We ensure the provision of all basic facilities to pilgrims,” Shafique said.


Kaaba Kiswa to be handed over to senior keeper on Eid Al-Adha

Kaaba Kiswa to be handed over to senior keeper on Eid Al-Adha
Updated 50 min 47 sec ago

Kaaba Kiswa to be handed over to senior keeper on Eid Al-Adha

Kaaba Kiswa to be handed over to senior keeper on Eid Al-Adha
  • The Kaaba is draped in a new Kiswa every year due to the sanctity of the building
  • It is made from raw silk dyed black and is decorated with Quranic verses that are embroidered onto the cloth

RIYADH: The Kiswa of the Kaaba will be handed over to the senior keeper of the sacred building on Dhu Al-Hijjah 10, the president of the General Presidency for the Affairs of the Two Holy Mosques announced on Monday.

The Kiswa will be handed over on the first day of Eid Al-Adha and a new covering will replace it on the first of Muharram, the beginning of the new Islamic year.

Sheikh Abdulrahman Al-Sudais said the Kingdom’s leadership is proactive in everything that raises the level of services provided at the two holy mosques, and that the utmost attention is paid to the Kaaba and its Kiswa.

He added that the Kaaba is draped in a new Kiswa every year due to the sanctity of the building.

The Kiswa is made from raw silk dyed black and is decorated with Quranic verses that are embroidered onto the cloth with gold-plated thread.


Saudi women participating in Makkah’s General Cars Syndicate for the first time

Women are now part of the General Syndicate of Cars for the first time, and the are proud and honored to work during Hajj.
Women are now part of the General Syndicate of Cars for the first time, and the are proud and honored to work during Hajj.
Updated 04 July 2022

Saudi women participating in Makkah’s General Cars Syndicate for the first time

Women are now part of the General Syndicate of Cars for the first time, and the are proud and honored to work during Hajj.
  • ‘Our leadership has made it possible for women to work, especially in all government sectors’

MAKKAH: Women will be part of the General Cars Syndicate in Makkah for the first time since it was set up nine decades ago.

The syndicate is an executive body that arranges and organizes pilgrim transportation through affiliated companies.

I am grateful that women now have more professional opportunities to participate and serve during Hajj.

Binan Basnan, Customer service specialist - General Syndicate of Cars

Khadijah Fida, a journalist and content creator at the syndicate, said: “A lot of women have been assisting with work for Hajj in the Kingdom for decades. I saw my father’s work in this sector, along with my brother and husband, and today I have also participated in it. Our leadership has made it possible for women to work, especially in all government sectors, and play an active role in line with Saudi Vision 2030.

(From L to R) Binan Basnan, Mervat Habhab & Khadijah Fida. (Supplied)

“Today, I represent the General Cars Syndicate in the media, public relations, creating quality material, and monitoring the successes of the transport information center during Hajj. I am proud and honored to be a woman from Makkah who works in the syndicate that greatly and actively contributes to the success of Hajj and the safe transport of pilgrims.

The syndicate is always working on creating and establishing an institutional framework for this association that has made a dramatic difference in transport in Makkah.

Khadija Fida, Journalist and content creator - General Syndicate of Cars

“We experience Makkah’s Hajj and Umrah seasons, and the syndicate is always working on creating and establishing an institutional framework for this association that has made a dramatic difference in transport in Makkah to bring comfort to pilgrims who (earlier) struggled on dirt roads to reach Makkah.”

Mervat Habhab, a customer service specialist at the syndicate’s information center, said that women’s roles had become more noticeable and significant.

“It is my mission to interact and address the situation of every beneficiary, based on their needs, and transport them to the relevant departments for a quick response and intervention. It is an honorable and wonderful mission to contribute to the service of pilgrims when those services were limited to men. In this prosperous era and these blessed days, I have the opportunity to play an important and active part as a woman from Makkah who loves God and her homeland.”

Habhab added that government support motivated them to improve their work performance every year.

Binan Basnan, another customer service specialist at the syndicate, said: “I am proud and honored to work in a great institution such as the General Cars Syndicate that serves pilgrims on their Hajj journey through receiving their inquiries and complaints. I am grateful that women now have more professional opportunities to participate and serve during Hajj. I hope to be rewarded (by God) and thank our government, which gave us these great opportunities.”


Madinah exhibit enriches the visitor experience

There is audio translation, enabling visitors to access the exhibition’s content through dedicated devices. (SPA)
There is audio translation, enabling visitors to access the exhibition’s content through dedicated devices. (SPA)
Updated 04 July 2022

Madinah exhibit enriches the visitor experience

There is audio translation, enabling visitors to access the exhibition’s content through dedicated devices. (SPA)
  • The exhibition presents content in several languages through wall panels and interactive screens

MADINAH: The Exhibition of the Prophet’s Holy Mosque Architecture is considered a historical legacy, as it contains valuable possessions and rare artifacts that enrich the visitor experience.

It is south of the Prophet’s Mosque, over an area of 2,200 square meters, and reviews the history of the building’s architecture since its first construction by Prophet Muhammad and his companions until the expansions of the first, second, and third Saudi states.

These expansions span more than 1,400 years and are witness to the beauty and elaboration of Islamic architecture, its designs, and ornamentations.

In collaboration with the Al-Madinah Al-Munawwarah Research and Studies Center, the General Presidency for the Affairs of Two Holy Mosques is highlighting the architectural dimensions of the Prophet’s Mosque, shedding light on its specialty, status, and architecture, elevating the level of cultural awareness in Islamic civilization, and enriching the visitor experience at an artistic and cultural level through a detailed and comprehensive presentation.

The presidency has also worked on introducing visitors to the features of the Prophet’s Mosque, such as the pulpit, mihrab, domes, canopies, doors, adhan, muezzins, minarets, squares, and the services offered to people.

The exhibition presents content in several languages through wall panels and interactive screens. All exhibition output is in Arabic and English, while the content has been translated into 12 languages.

There is also audio translation, enabling visitors to access the exhibition’s content through dedicated devices. Visiting time is divided into two daily periods from 7 a.m. until midday and from 4 p.m. until 10 p.m.

The exhibition features modern technology, interactive screens talking about architecture, information related to the Prophet’s Mosque, films, and cinema halls.

It also has special halls for valuable objects, including rare and precious items belonging to the Two Holy Mosques and ancient artifacts preserved through the ages.

The experience time in the exhibition is around 40 minutes, with 30 visitors per tour.