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Natural UAE

CLICK FOR SECTION MAP Sham, Ras al-Khaimah

The most northerly village on the UAE's Arabian Gulf coast, lying on the roadside north to Khasab in the Musandam of Oman, Sham is a bustling Ras al-Khaimah fishing village. Compared with earlier times, most fishing boats are now of fibreglass construction and fitted with powerful outboard engines. These lie either at anchor close to shore or run up on the gently shelving beach. Migrating fish shoals regularly pass close to shore and when the boats are able to intercept them a massive catch may be landed. Landings of shark have declined, however, and there are now moves to protect stocks and to outlaw export of shark fin.

The Ras al-Khaimah fish soukh is a naturalist's paradise, with species of fish never previously recorded in the Arabian Gulf sometimes being found on offer! As recently as 1999, the spotted ocean triggerfish (Canthidermis maculatus) was found in such a way. This fish is known from the western Indian Ocean, but had not previously been recorded closer to the UAE than the Gulf of Aden, off Djibouti and the Maldive islands.

As the heat and humidity increases along the coast in summer, Sham takes on a soporific air, with some people seeking relief, albeit minor, by retiring to the relative cool of their former homes high up in the hills.

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