Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Sea of Galilee out of fish

This morning's Times reports on the worrying situation in the Sea of Galilee about fishing stocks:

Sea of Galilee is out of fish, and miracles
James Hider and Yonit Farago
Were Jesus to return and fish the Sea of Galilee today he might tell a parable, not of prolific catches and the sated crowds of biblical times but of empty nets and a hefty fine.

Israel’s parliament is poised to impose a two-year ban on fishing for the famed St Peter’s fish — a type of tilapia indigenous to the Sea of Galilee in the north of the country.

For thousands of years fishermen here have been pulling in the tasty white fish, grilled as a speciality in the restaurants of Tiberias and the villages dotted around the shores of the lake.

Stocks have dropped drastically in the past decade because of environmental and human factors. Annual catches of the St Peter’s fish, which takes its name from the New Testament story in which Jesus’s disciple, Peter, netted a fish with a gold coin in its mouth — and paid his taxes with it — have dropped from 300 tonnes to only 8 . . . .
There is, of course, a minor error about the New Testament here. The passage in mind is Matt. 17.24-27 in which Peter takes a stater (στατήρ) out of the fish's mouth, which is a silver and not a gold coin.

No comments: