Some lie barefoot on piles of fishing nets, their hands behind their heads as they look to the sky. Others huddle on the many dhows lined up along the port, their faces lit up by the mobile phone streaming the latest Bollywood film.

Whether they live on the fishing boats, or the nearby labour accommodation, the fishermen of Abu Dhabi’s Mina Zayed – and others who frequent the shisha cafes that line the way – have turned the small, concrete strip into a community.

With the weather beginning to cool, fishermen Danny, Vijay, Balvan, and Mono Bhai are getting ready for the start of the fishing season.

Their wages depend on what they bring back to shore, with the profits, after taking overheads into account, being split 50-50 between the fishermen and their Arab sponsor. Usually, the group will head out to sea for four days out of every two weeks. The rest of their time is spent relaxing, says Vijay.

“When we are at the port, we only sleep and eat. There is nothing much to do. We just chill,” says the 36-year-old, who has worked in the UAE for two years.

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