Private farms in Gaza keep fish on the table in face of blockade

CCTV News

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Israel’s marine siege is squeezing Gaza’s fish supply causing an increase in private fish farms to meet demand.

CCTV’s Noor Harazeen reports.

Private farms in Gaza keep fish on the table in face of blockade

Private farms in Gaza keep fish on the table in face of blockade

Israel's marine siege is squeezing Gaza's fish supply causing an increase in private fish farms to meet demand.

Israel’s blockade on the Gaza Strip makes it nearly impossible for Gaza fishermen to make a living these days. Although Israel extended the allowed fishing zone for some parts of the Gaza Strip to nine nautical miles in April, fishermen are barred from fishing beyond six nautical miles from their coastline.

For many here in Gaza, seafood, specially bream, is a basic meal over the weekends. But Gaza is no longer rich in fish as it used to be before due to Israel’s marine siege, and the majority of people are now reluctant to buy for its high prices. The appetite for local fish prompted the opening of a few private fish farms in an attempt to supply local markets with another source of fish at affordable prices.

Yasser Mahmoud Al-Haj, the owner of Al-Bahar, one of the most successful of four fish farms in Gaza since 2014, has invested about $1.2 million to establish his project. The farm sits on a small rise above a beach, and looks out over the frontline of the Mediterranean. Alongside its restaurant and aquarium, Al-Bahar owns a playground which attracts picnickers from all over Gaza.

Despite the success of his project, Al-Haj says that his business is faced with mounting costs as he has to buy the required seeds along with the fish food from Israel twice week. The farm produces 120,000 kg of bream a year which he sells to his private customers but falls well short of the amount needed to supply commercial dealers.

All the farms in Gaza are met with other challenges resulting from Hamas rule, mainly, the constant power outages which reach up to 12 hours per day. The owners of farms have to keep back-up generators to oxygenate the tanks and keep fish alive.