Dei'ah veDibur - Information & Insight

A Window into the Chareidi World

19 Adar 5761 - March 14, 2001 | Mordecai Plaut, director Published Weekly








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Shema Yisrael Torah Network
Shema Yisrael Torah Network

Opinion & Comment
Fish Set Free

by M. Naftali

Fishermen at Ashdod beaches have had a lot of work on their hands recently. Hundreds of fisherman have spread out along Ashdod beaches to hook Denis fish following the storm that passed through the region three weeks ago, generating waves over 13 meters high.

Not all of the fish we buy grow up under natural conditions. Fishermen do not rely solely on open-water fishing. They take steps to ensure a steady income by raising saltwater fish.

How does one raise saltwater fish? A short distance offshore, near the breakwater, there is a fish farm under water. Inside the fish farm are enormous enclosures where Denis fish are seeded and raised. The fish reproduce in the enclosure over a period of a year and a half, and then local fishermen catch and sell them at various fish markets. This allows buyers to have a ready supply of certain kinds of fish available, rather than having to hope for a good catch.

The high surf brought by the recent storm, the like of which has not reached Israeli shores for many years, ripped apart the fish-farm enclosures off the coast of Ashdod, and a million and a half fish swam off in every direction. At the storm's climax it washed away a 30-ton earthmover parked on the breakwater. It shouldn't be hard to picture what happened to the plastic fish enclosures when the huge earthmover plunged down on them.

News of the booty waiting in the sea spread quickly, and hundreds of fishermen and fish lovers arrived at the beach to divvy up the spoils. Large numbers of fish did indeed get caught on the hooks of the droves of fishermen who came to participate in the fishing festival.

For the fish-farm owners, the mood was less festive. One of them, grieving over the damages, said, "Workers stood by helplessly with tears in their eyes. A tugboat was sent from the harbor to tether the enclosures, but at a certain point it had to return to the harbor. Now we've begun rebuilding the pens. I hope that the fish we raise in them will reach the market within a year. We have suffered equipment damage of over ten million shekels. Most of the equipment is insured, but the fish are not insured, and some six million shekels worth of fish have been lost."

What does an amateur fisherman from Holon who reeled in a few small fish have to say about all this? "I would like the Ministry of Agriculture to do this intentionally from time to time. These fish bring some life into these dead waters. Now all of the fishermen are happy."

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