I have been looking at the theme of generosity, including sharing food, for more than ten years. For my book, Foodways in Southern Oman (Routledge, 2021), I conducted several interviews about fishing practices in Dhofar. In Spring 2020, I started a second round of formal interviews which provided the information used in the following publication, presentation and essays.
Risse, M. “Lifeways of Traditional Fishermen in Dhofar, Oman,” in Fish as Food: Lifestyle and a Sustainable Future. Helen Macbeth, ed. International Commission on the Anthropology of Food and Nutrition – Alimenta Populorum series. forthcoming
Although most of Oman’s gross national product is derived from oil and gas products, fishing still plays an important role in providing jobs which create a cash-producing export and help ensure food security. However, there is little current information about the lives of traditional fishermen. This chapter will present the results of extensive interviews conducted over several months in 2021 to explain the daily lives and customs of fishermen in the governorate of Dhofar, in southern Oman. Topics such as setting up a fishing boat, catching fish, selling and giving away the catch are explained. The author has lived in Dhofar for 16 years and has been researching the lifeways of Dhofari Muslim, Arab tribes for over a decade.
Risse, M. “The Costs and Benefits of Fishing in Southern Oman.” Fish as Food: Lifestyle and a Sustainable Future. International Commission on the Anthropology of Food and Nutrition, hosted at the University of Liverpool. Sept. 1. 2021. http://www.icaf2021.uk/
My presentation discusses two important questions about fishing economics: how much does it cost to catch fish and how does that expense create a social benefit for fishermen, regardless of the money earned from the catch? In this presentation I will explain how much a typical day and season of fishing costs a fisherman, as well as how giving away part of every catch creates a benefit that is more than monetary. There has been work done on the types of fish along the Omani coast (e.g. Al-Jufaili, Hermosa, Al-Shuaily and Al Mujaini 2010; Choudri, Baawain and Mustaque 2016, Harrison 1980; McKoy, Bagley, Gauthier and Devine 2009) and how fish are sold (e.g. Al-Marshudi and Kotagama 2006; Al Rashdi and Mclean 2014; William and Fidelity Lancaster 1995; “National Aquaculture Sector Overview-Oman” 2019; Omezzine 1998, Omezzine, Zaibet and Al-Oufi 1996; Siddeek, Fouda and Hermosa 1999). Using interviews and personal experiences, I will explain how the cash outlay for gas, nets, bait, etc. is transformed into social, in addition to economic, capital for fishermen.