Residents of the land-locked West Bank have long been dependent on expensive Mediterranean fish supplied to them by Israel.
Today, fish farming can provide an alternative.
In the city of Jericho, farmer Omar Sawafta is one of many who have opted to fish farming in tanks and pools in a bid to make the West Bank self-sufficient in “sea” food.
Abdel Aziz Maali, a supervisor at a local fish farm, says the climate in the area is ideal for the fish farming, adding that the ministry of agriculture, having realized this, helped build the farm.
Despite the availability of water for the fish, there is increased competition for the precious commodity from nearby Jewish settlements, which is having a dramatic impact on Jericho's main industry, farming.
Ismail Daik, of the Palestinian Farmer’s Union, says the ministry of agriculture suggests farmers recycle the waste water from the fish farm and use it for plant irrigation.
Jericho is the world’s lowest lying city, at 300 meters below sea level. It relies predominantly on subterranean wells and natural springs. Sharing water resources is a sensitive issue in Israel’s ties with the Palestinians along with other Arab neighbors.
According to a report by Amnesty International last year, it has blamed Israel of prohibiting Palestinians’ from accessing water, a claim that relates to Palestinians saying the route of water shortage lies in deep Israeli wells.
Israel has counteracted the claim saying it has exceeded commitments to supply Palestinians with water under a signed agreement in 1995.
As Jericho farmers deal with diminishing water supply, the fishermen hope to obtain enough fish to cater to the local market.
Gazan fishermen have already began cultivating seafood in local fish farms, as residents have been dealing with supply shortage due to the Israeli-imposed blockade on the Strip. Also, the fishermen are at risk from having their boats seized or even shot at, after water restrictions were enforced, limiting the area for fishing to a 5.5 km radius.