The head of the cooperative Mr. Azzam told us that the fisherfolk always lose their fishing nets due to the flow of the tide.
As they’re near the borders between Egypt, Israel and Gaza, they can’t go out to bring them back. Marine boats shoot at them if they enter their waters in order to keep people away from their borders.
Another big problem the fisherfolk face is keeping their fish fresh.
Local fisherfolk mostly head out to sea during sunset hours. A company of four to five fishing boats work together for about six to eight hours, setting their nets where fish gather and collecting them. They repeat the process several times each evening.
Each time they collect the net from the water, they take out the fish and put them in boxes. They then cover the boxes in ice to store the fish properly until they finish collecting their nets and go back to the beach. Obviously, the fish needs to remain fresh until it is sold to the public.
The Al Mawassi Cooperative secured funding and bought an ice-making machine. It also installed solar panels on the roof of their headquarters to help produce electricity to run the machine.
Alhamdulillah, the cooperative now sells the ice at about half the price of private vendors. However, the machine can only produce a limited amount.
This means, that on the days when fisherfolk produce more fish than expected, they can’t preserve the fish, and are forced to sell it at a low price.
This affects more than 700 fisherfolk in Al Mawassi, who need two to three tons of ice a day.
Members of the cooperative complained about lack of infrastructure, inadequate housing and high levels of poverty. However, despite all the challenges, they appear to be optimistic.
Perhaps they trust that the sea will give them what they need. They remain patient, hoping that their rizq (income) will come from Allah (SWT).
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