It's All About the Tuna at this Fish Market in the Maldives
The fish market in Male, the uber-congested capital city of the Maldives, is full of groupers, sea bass, red snappers, dolphin fish, and barracuda—but the real draw is the fresh skipjack and yellowfin tuna.
Skipjack tuna is a popular sell at the Male fish market. All photos by the author.
The fish market in Male, the uber-congested capital city of the Maldives, is full of limbless cold-blooded vertebrates: groupers, sea bass, red snappers, dolphin fish, barracuda. But at the end of the day, it's all about the tuna.
Yellowfin and skipjack are two tuna species commonly caught in the Indian Ocean, and they are sold and filleted on the slippery-floored Male fish market. They are hooked not with the monstrous purse-seine nets used elsewhere in today's mega-exploitative, Jungle-esque international fishing industry, but by hook-and-pole method, where fishermen rely on brawn and good old-fashioned luck in hooking tuna; less Sinclair than Hemingway. With a dozen or more men, boats will stay out at sea for up to a month. At the market, tuna buyers barter with merchants, clutching fists of orange and green rufiyaa bills and hoping for a good deal. Both restauranteurs and regular consumers buy their tuna there. The biggest tuna catches are sold to the canneries, which dice and can the monster fish for export and local sale.