JERUSALEM, April 3 (UPI) — The biblical tradition of fishing in the Sea of Galilee has been suspended by Israeli officials who say the waters have been overfished.
The Ministry of Agriculture recently announced a 2-year ban on fishing that will take effect at the end of April and allow the ancient fishery to regenerate.
“We need to stop fishing to give the small fish a chance to grow, causing fish stocks to increase and the lake to recover,” said fisheries director Chaim Anjioni. “We are just before a catastrophe, and that is why we have decided to stop fishing.”
The Bible says St. Peter and Jesus himself used to ply the waters of the Sea of Galilee. The St. Peter’s fish has been a dominant species in the lake for centuries.
Britain’s The Daily Telegraph said Saturday that the freshwater lake yielded fairly ample catches until just a few years ago when fish populations took a nosedive. Officials believe anglers using nets with smaller openings than permitted by law have devastated the juvenile fish before they grow to adult size and are able to breed.
Other factors include falling water levels and higher bird populations that are kept away from nearby fish farms and wind up hunting at the Sea of Galilee.
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