Pearl diving in Qatar
Since ancient times the sea has played a vital role in the daily life of the citizens of the peninsula of Qatar. Fishing is thus one of the ancient trades that the people of Qatar practiced to earn a living in the pre –oil era. There were different methods of fishing, such as Al-Maskar and Al-Hadhrah.
Al hadhrah is an enclosure made form palm fronds and robes made of plant fiber. It was used in shallow waters to catch certain kinds of fish such as Assafi.
Almaskar is a stone structure of various sizes in the sea.
Al maskar method relies on the tide movement. During an ebb an iron bar with a sharp end called the Nira, or the Sahila which is a net fixed with two pieces of wood on each side are used to catch fish entrapped in al maskar.
is one of the oldest professions in the Gulf region. It was one of the main sources of income in the pre-oil era. There were two diving seasons: the big dive, a two-month journey, and the small dive, a forty-day journey. Both seasons fell between June and September.
Among the tools the divers used were the scuttle, Al-futam, Al-falakah and stones. With the discovery of oil in the 1930’s and the introduction of Japanese artificial pearls, pearl diving became unprofitable and people turned to earn their living from other less demanding activities.