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A pearl tradition honoured every year
The end of the pearl industry in the 1930s and 1940s transformed the traditional dhows moored here in the port of Al Wakrah into leisure and tourist boats. Once a year, in May, the country’s pearl fishing tradition is revived with the Senyar Pearl Diving Contest. Aboard dhows, the competitors take turns in teams of five to free dive at the bottom of the sea and collect pearl oysters. The boat that collects the most oysters wins the first prize (400,000 riyals or 110,000 dollars). The emphasis is not on the number of pearls found (the oysters are not opened) but on the quantity of oysters caught and the technique used. At the end of the day, the oysters are returned to the water to preserve the ecosystem.
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