Agence France-Presse (AFP)
JERUSALEM — Israel on Sunday April 18 imposed a two-year ban on fishing in the Sea of Galilee, halting a practice that dates back to biblical times when tradition holds Jesus and his Disciples fished those waters.
“The government will pass a plan to halt fishing in the Sea of Galilee for a period of two years,” Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said at the start of a weekly cabinet meeting.
The ban was called for to help preserve fish stocks which have plummeted dramatically.
“We will support the fishermen and make sure the lake is restocked with fish,” Netanyahu said.
The agriculture ministry blames the drop on overfishing and the use of illegal nets that trap young fish and prevent stocks from maturing. Migratory birds which feed on the fish have also been on the rise.
The sea, actually a freshwater lake in northern Israel, is the country’s main source of water and has been a center for fishing at least since biblical times.
The Bible describes how Jesus recruited some of His Apostles from among the lake’s fishermen, and how He performed many of His miracles there, including walking on its waters and multiplying loaves and fish to feed the multitudes.
The most popular fish in the lake is commonly known as the St. Peter’s Fish.
Netanyahu himself recalled fishing in the lake as a boy. “The fish were excellent,” he said.