Secrets from the Sahara; Desert Fish
By : Hatem Dhwibi
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There is a sea ship and there is also a desert ship which is the camel. I have talked in a previous article about camels. A camel is referred to as a desert ship because it has the same function as the ship but in the sahara which is transportation. There is a dog and there is also a seadog which is the slang term for seals or pinnipeds and sometimes sailors are referred to as seadogs. Me and my friend ‘Aymen Yaakoub’, a documentary film director who works now for Horizons for Media Production, were discussing that type of word games, he told me that there exist not only desert ships but also desert fish. Of course I laughed but he was looking serious. Desert fish..! Is it some kind of a creature that looks like a fish and lives in the desert? Desert fish..! Is it a fish-face animal with camel legs? Or may be a fish-serpent? A desert lizard may be referred to as desert fish? You would come up with the strangest ideas thinking what desert fish are or how they look like, the same happened with me until my friend explained to me what he was talking about.
Pisciculture or fish farming, is the breeding, rearing and transplantation of fish by artificial means, It is the principal form of aquaculture, it involves raising fish commercially in tanks or enclosures. Usually the tanks or enclosures are built in lakes or rivers or by the seasides, generally near natural water sources. ‘Salah ben Khalifa’, from Bazma, a village in Kébili near the sahara, decided to practice fish farming in the middle of the sahara, he was given a place in the desert to plant like many others from that village; unlike the others who decided to plant dates palms, Salah built tanks and enclosures to grow fish. My friend Aymen filmed a documentary about this man, i was astonished as i watched it, this article will be followed with a link to the documentary movie in youtube. Salah’s decision was challenging and unique, a lot of hard work, a lot of patience, and a lot of experience. His son was his only help, he was teaching him all about their new career. Fish farming is usually practiced in areas that are near the water sources like lakes and rivers, the cost of the food which is used to feed the fish is high, it is basically imported from America and some other countries. As Kébili is far from the cities where there are airports, Salah was obliged to add the travelling cost of bringing the food to the exportation cost, so the total cost of feeding his fish was doubled and may be tripled. In an attempt to reduce the cost of feeding, Salah started to mix the food with dates which costs him almost nothing, his experiment worked and even more, it made the fish grow faster and stronger. Mullet and porgy are the principle types of fish he is breeding, four males and twelve females are needed for the proliferation but he doubled the number to work comfortably, specific types of water and specific tank dimensions are also needed for breeding not to mention the special care fish need. ‘I would love to start exporting to foreign countries, but that would be when i widen my project’ said Salah ending his conversation, drowning in his thoughts.
Insistence, persistence, patience are the keys to learn and succeed, the keys to learn life lessons and morals. Salah is an example that proves to us that everything in this life is possible when there is a will. Tunisia is a well of wealth for those who decide to use their brain and seize the opportunities, but still some things need to change.
Aymen Yaakoub : documentary film director
Movie : breeding the fish
Email : aymenyaakoub14 @gmail.com