Friday, April 16, 2010

One of the "must do's" when visiting the Sea of Galilee for the first time (other than seeing if the water will bear your weight) is to sample the famous Saint Peter's Fish at one of seaside restaurants on the Kibbutz Ein-Gev. The Rabbit family are due for a return visit to Israel to visit family in the summer of 2011 except the St Peter's Fish will be in short supply. A two-year ban on fishing the Sea of Galilee will begin this month.

These are a fast-growing fish which, being vegetarian, does not accumulate mercury in its flesh through eating smaller prey fish. It can be eaten in copious quantities with no risk to health unlike the big Lake Trout in northern Canada.

They are one of a large family (1300 subspecies) of the family Cichlidae found in various parts of the world. Africa and Central/South America host the greatest number of these fish and these populations are very distantly related to each other in that the continents were joined in the distant past. In like manner the cichlids of India and Madagascar, related to each other, are examples of the same sort of Gondwanan distribution. The popularity of ciclids as aquarium fish and the intentional or accidental introduction of these energetic and fast-growing fish into the watercourses of Florida or Australia have (unfairly) given such fish as the Tilapia a bad name as a destructive interloper. The particular branch of the Cichlid family represented by the Saint Peter's fish is, in fact, vegetarian. They tend to clear up weed-choked watercourses and improve the habitat for other fishes.

They are definitely a warm water creature and they suffer in the cool water of the Sea of Galilee in the winter time. One of the places they congregate in enormous schools is at the outlet of the fairly warm spring which gushes forth from the foot of the Mount of the Beatitudes, near Tabgha at the north-north-west corner of the lake.

So, if you knew where to drop your net - or if somebody told you - you'd be in business.

1 comment:

Peter said...

Rob, This seems to relate to the Gospel we read today; John 21:1-19.
It was a full dog-n-pony show with our Bishop.