Local fishermen describe two-day bonanza as “a godsend;” fish weighing up to 700 kilos hauled off to market.
By Reuters | Feb.28, 2013

Gaza fishermen have caught more than 200 Devil Rays over the past two days, a rare haul that was proudly displayed on the beach before being carried off to market on donkey carts.

“It is a godsend,” fisherman Abu Mahmoud al-Issi said on Thursday, the second day running that fishing boats operating from the Palestinian enclave had caught dozens of the giant ray, that are similar to Manta rays.

One of the fish weighed 700 kg, locals said. Giant Devil Rays are listed as an endangered species by the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN).

Gaza residents rushed to the beach and took photographs as butchers cut up the fish, with the meat going on sale for as little as NIS 10 ($2.70) a kilo because of the bonanza.

Large schools of Devil Rays, which grow to more than five meters in width, are often found about this time of year off the Gaza and Egyptian coast.

“We have not witnessed such a scene for seven years because of the blockade,” said Issi, referring to a 3-mile limit that was extended as part of a ceasefire deal between Israel and Gaza’s Hamas rulers, giving fishermen access to deeper waters.