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
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
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."