Friday, 1 March 2013

Palestinian fisherman mystified after bloodied Mobula Ray fish wash up on Gaza beach

Palestinian fishermen on Wednesday dragged hundreds of endangered rays out of the waters off the Gaza Strip, sparking an absurd international media sensation over where the fish came from.

Palestinian media reported that the cartilaginous fish had made a comeback in the waters off the Palestinian territory after years of absence, and that local fishermen had begun hauling them to the markets. A kilo of fresh ray sold for NIS 10 (less than $3) in the Gaza City fish market, the Ma’an news agency reported.

“For the first time in five years, fishermen say they are catching the rays by the hundreds,” Ma’an wrote.

Videos published on YouTube showed Gazan fishermen lugging the massive fish out of boats offshore, and butchering them on the beach with machetes before carting them off. The fishermen can be clearly seen in the video offloading the fish and lining them up in neat rows on the sand.

Once images of rows of dead rays lined up on the Gaza beach were photographed by the press, however, the story began to metamorphose — from a large and interesting catch at sea, to a purported mass death mystery.

Like sharks on the kill, the UK’s Daily Mail online picked up the story shortly after it was published, but rewrote it as the “Mystery of the massacred manta rays.”

Italy’s La Repubblica ran an AFP photo taken Wednesday morning of the rays lined up on the beach and also called it a mystery. “It is difficult to determine the cause, but the scenario that occurred on the beach was really disconcerting,” it wrote.

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