Decades-old Parrotfish festival brings locals, tourists to Saudi Arabia’s Jazan
The annual Parrotfish fishing festival has kicked off in the Farasan Island of Saudi Arabia in southwestern region of Jazan.
The Hareed Festival has become a key tourist festival in the region the brings together both locals and tourists to the region every year.
Hareed (Arabic for Parrotfish) is a delicious type of fish, which is also called “sea parrot” by locals for its considerable facial similarities to the parrot. This type of fish comes into the shallow parts of the coast and locals celebrate their arrival during April and May of each year.
In the past, people used to go to fishing festival on donkeys and camels during the early hours of the morning. They gathered along the coast to observe the shallow surface of the waters, where the presence of fish can be seen from the light disturbances allowing the colorful scales of the fish to be reflected.
The decades-old festival is marked by several folk songs and a contest among both fishermen and locals to catch the largest number of Parrotfish within a specified time. As part of the fishing contest, trained fishermen place special nets to drive the fish swarms toward the shore.
They then drag the net to allow the fish to come closer to the shallow parts of the shore where people with smaller nets collect their catch.