Thursday, January 20, 2011

A Fishless Sea of Galilee?

Scientists fear that they may not be able to halt the precipitous drop of the fish population in the Sea of Galilee.  In 1999, a total of 2,144 tons of fish was caught.  Ten years later, the total was less than 10% of that (157 tons).  Contributing to the crisis are many years of drought.  From the Jerusalem Post:

The ministry wrote that "the data raised real concerns of an ecological disaster that will occur in the Kinneret following the loss of fish resources, turning Lake Kinneret into a fish-less lake."

The announcement came only a few weeks after the Water Authority released dismal reports on the below-average rainfal that has plagued the lake for the last decade, with water levels reaching their lowest average since the 1920s.

The years 2001 to 2010 treated Lake Kinneret particularly poorly, the Water Authority said Monday. Moreover, according to its summary of 2010, Lake Kinneret has dropped back down to last year’s water level because of the severe lack of rain despite the state having reduced pumping this year.

Except for a few major showers at the beginning and the end of the year, Lake Kinneret’s water levels steadily dropped from May to December. Despite pumping less water out of the lake, the water level has dropped from what it was last year and is now significantly below the bottom red line. In fact, the water level rested below the bottom red line for most of the year, with the exception of the months of March to June.

The full story is here.

Fishermen with fish in net, mat05689Fishermen in the Sea of Galilee, early 1900s
(photo source)

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