Home' Greymouth Star : August 15th 2014 Contents Greymouth Star
After hours casting their nets close to
the Gaza shore, Palestinian fishermen sift
through their catch in the dim dawn light,
managing to scrape together a few piles of
It is a miserable catch, the result, they
say, of restrictions imposed by Israel, with
boats allowed only three nautical miles
(5.6km) offshore after a month of no
fishing at all during the recent fighting.
For years Gaza’s fishing community
— once one of its proudest and most
productive industries — has been caught
in the middle of a maritime feud, part of
a wider conflict between the blockaded
Palestinian enclave and Israel.
As Palestinian and Israeli negotiators
meet independently with Egyptian
officials to try to reach an agreement to
end the latest conflict that began on July
8, maritime rights are one of the critical
issues up for discussion.
The Palestinians want Israel to allow
fishermen to sail up to 12 nautical miles
from the shore — the internationally
defined limit for a nation’s waters — so
that they can net greater numbers of larger
Over the past eight years, Israel has set a
six-mile limit for Gaza’s fishermen when
tensions were lower, restricting it to three
miles when hostilities have escalated.
Israel says Gaza’s sea, air and land
blockade aims to prevent Hamas, the
Islamist group which runs Gaza, from
acquiring weapons or materials that could
be used against the Jewish state.
Since Israel responded to rocket fire
from Gaza with airstrikes and a ground
invasion, fighting that left more than 1900
Palestinians and 64 soldiers and three
civilians in Israel dead — fishermen have
been even more restricted, barely leaving
“They brought us back to zero,” said
fisherman Khalid Abu Riyad, 50, on a jetty
before heading out to sea before dawn.
The United Nations food agency
estimates 3600 Gaza households are
involved in fishing. Just under half of those
have no other source of income.
“The livelihood of these people is
completely jeopardised,” said Ciro Fiorillo,
head of the UN Food and Agriculture
Organisation’s operations in Gaza and the
The agency estimates that the latest
conflict deprived fishermen of around
200-250 tonnes of fish, or 9-10% of their
average annual catch under a six-mile
Fishermen describe being shot at or
harassed by Israeli naval vessels, sometimes
even when they are inside the allocated
fishing zone, which is marked with
illuminated red warning buoys. They
say Israel has sometimes confiscated
equipment and on occasion they
have had to abandon it if they came
“It is very dangerous, after six miles there
may be shooting,” said Suboh al-Hesi, a
Hesi earns 20-30 shekels ($6-9) a day
but often comes back empty-handed. The
past four years have been especially tough,
he says: fuel has tripled in price since 2006
and competition has increased because
more men started to fish when they lost
their jobs on the land.
Before the restrictions, he was able to
catch sea bream, grouper and other larger
fish. Now he is lucky if he gets a bucket of
small crabs or sardines, which are far less
The fishing community say they need the
fishing zone to be expanded to at least 10
nautical miles and ideally to 12 nautical
miles, where schools of fish are more
“Gaza is an area that is a fish passage, a
transit area,” said a 49-year-old fisherman
who gave his name as Abu Mohammad.
Fish do not stay close to the shore but
sweep by further out and that is where the
fishermen need to be, he said.
Instead of ser ving fish caught miles from
their doorstep, the stretch of restaurants
close to the shore offer farmed, frozen
seafood, or fish smuggled in through
tunnels from Egypt.
Asaad Abu Hasira, 53, recalled that
before 2000, his fish restaurant and the
industry were thriving.
“ It was excellent, tourists used to come
from Arab countries. There were foreign
and local tourists and international
delegations,” he said at his coastal business,
which has been ser ving up fish since 1955.
Twenty years ago, Israelis would come as
tourists to Gaza and eat in the restaurants.
Fishermen would even export their catch
to Israel, said Hasira, who comes from a
For him, the maritime feud has done
more than restrict livelihoods, it has
harmed cultural links with the sea.
“ Part of Palestinian society lives by the
sea and works by the sea. There is a greater
fishing tradition than in Israel,” he said,
adding that he cannot bring himself to
“I love fish, if I am away from the sea, I
die — like a fish.” — Reuters
4 - Friday, August 15, 2014
We appreciate the value of the Letters to the Editor
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uLetters to the editor
1848 - M Waldo Hanchett of Syracuse, New
York, patents the dental chair.
1903 - New Zealand wins first rugby union
test against Australia, 22-3.
1914 - The Panama Canal opens with the
passage of the vessel Ancon.
1920 - Polish Marshal Jozef Pilsudski crushes
Soviet troops in the Battle of Warsaw, blocking
their march on western Europe.
1935 - Wiley Post, American
aviator, is killed in a plane crash in
Alaska along with his passenger,
American comedian Will Rogers.
1938 - The Queen Mary sets a
record for the eastbound crossing of
the Atlantic, two minutes short of
1945 - Millions worldwide celebrate VJ Day,
a day after Japan’s surrender is announced,
ending World War Two.
1947 - After 200 years, India becomes
independent from British rule with Jawaharlal
Nehru as prime minister. Pakistan, a new
country is car ved out of India.
1994 - Carlos the Jackal, freelance terrorist,
is arrested in Sudan and flown to Paris
uWest Coast yesteryear
uToday in history
Napoleon Bonaparte, French emperor (1769-
1821); Sir Walter Scott, Scottish novelist-poet
(1771-1832); Ethel Barrymore, US actress
(1879-1959); Julia Child, US author-cook
(1912-2004); Robert Bolt, British
playwright, screenwriter and director
(1924-1995); Mike Connors, US
actor (1925-); Abby Dalton, US
actor (1935-); Princess Anne (1950-
); Tess Harper, US actor (1950-);
Stieg Larsson, Swedish author
(1954-2004); Debra Messing,
US actress (Will and Grace) (1968-); Ben
Affleck, US actor (1972-); Jennifer Lawrence,
American actress (1990-).
“ We must not read either law or history
backward. ” — Helen Cam, English historian
and educator (1885-1968).
“ In the morning, while it was still very dark,
He got up and went out to a deserted place,
and there He prayed.” — (Mark 1:35).
Yes, it has been wet!
Here’s proof of what
an oversupply of wet
weather on the Coast
can do. This year one farmer in the Ahaura
district will har vest a double crop -- wool and
grass, both together. He has a dozen sheep
trotting about his paddocks in the frequent
showers with lawns growing out of their backs.
Unusual though it seems the explanation
is quite simple really. The sheep had been
pushing into haystacks to obtain fodder. In the
process seeds dropped and lodges in the wool.
Germinated by the warmth and abundant rain
lately, the grass has sprouted to a length of two
The farmer’s Greymouth agent said that,
while he had not heard cases of this on the
Coast before, he remembered reading about it
in Southland a few years ago.
Recently an elderly man and his wife drove in
to Greymouth. They were on a holiday and it
was late, but instead of seeking accommodation
the couple stopped at a Chapel Street milk
bar. The man remembered it as his father’s
coachbuilding shop. Next stop was a Murray
Street house. The man remembered it as the
house he had left 57 years ago.
The next day Charlie Vinsen called on the
present owner of the house and was shown
through the rooms he had played in up to
the age of nine. For it was at this age that Mr
Vinsen left Greymouth with his family, and it
proved that more than half a lifetime was to
elapse before he returned.
Mr Vinsen, who lives in Wellington, had
always had a yearning to return to the town of
his birth and now this desire has been fulfilled.
uFood for thought
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t is easy to go on-line and get a
360-degree, ground-level view
of almost any street throughout
the world. Soon, scientists hope
people will be able to do the
same with coral reefs and other
under water wonders.
United States government scientists are
learning to use specialised fisheye lenses
under water in the Florida Keys this
week in hopes of applying “street view”
mapping to research and management
plans in marine sanctuaries nationwide.
Some of the rotating and panoramic
images will be available on-line as early
as this week, including a selection on
Google Maps, giving the public a window
into ecosystems still difficult and costly to
explore for long stretches of time.
It will be like scuba diving from your
About 400,000 images have been
produced so far of reefs off Australia
and in the Caribbean, but this is the first
time the technology is being used in US
The images in the US will add scale
and details to data that ’s already been
collected, and illustrate the successes and
failures of coral restoration. They will
also help scientists study the effects of
warming ocean temperatures, pollution
and hurricanes on reefs, officials said.
“This allows people who can’t get
under water to understand what we mean
by putting up a special preser vation area
around this particular spot,” said Mitchell
Tartt, chief of the conser vation science
division at the National Oceanic and
Atmospheric Administration’s Office of
National Marine Sanctuaries.
The basketball-shaped, triple-lens
SVII cameras use the same technology
that ’s used to produce Google Street
View images of neighbourhoods on land.
Instead of being placed on top of a car,
the 65kg riggings are tethered to scuba
divers and powered through the water by
small motors. Smaller versions mounted
on tripods also are being tested in the
Keys this week.
In images previewed by project director
Richard Vevers, endangered elkhorn
coral, bleached fields of dead coral and
coral nurseries suspended like hanging
plants in the Keys’ blue waters were in
sharp focus as they rotated on screen.
In an hour-long dive, each camera can
capture images over an area up to 20
times larger than what is available with
traditional underwater photography
equipment, Vevers said. The technology
also records GPS data and quickly
stitches the images together into
panoramic views or 360-degree views.
The cameras and training in the Florida
Keys National Marine Sanctuary for six
NOAA officials are being paid for as part
of a partnership with the Catlin Seaview
Survey, funded by the global insurance
company Catlin. Google also is a sponsor.
The images that have been produced so
far from other Catlin sur veys are being
uploaded on-line to the Catlin Global
Reef Record. The project also moves next
into Southeast Asia, Vevers said.
While the main sur vey continues
worldwide, the smaller cameras will be
available for targeted projects within
NOAA sanctuaries, such as gauging the
effectiveness of preservation zones in
California’s Monterey Bay sanctuary, or
they could help measure the impacts of
landslides that fall into the water.
The corporate sponsorship offers
consistency in equipment, training and
data, Vevers said.
Catlin’s sustainability director, John
Carroll, would only say the cost was
The benefit to the Bermuda-based
company also would be substantial, he
said, because there are a lot of insurable
assets that depend on climate change.
“Clearly as an insurance company, we’re
keen to help manage this risk because,
you know, that ’s our business,” Carroll
said. — New Zealand Herald
Mitchell Tartt, of the Office of National Marine Sanctuaries, trains to take 360-degree panoramas of the corals off the coast of
Street view’ goes undersea
Christophe Bailhache sur veys “Christ of the Abyss,” with SVII cameras off the coast of Key Largo in Florida.
Gaza’s slim catches
PICTURE: Getty Images
Gaza fishermen check their nets after fishing.
The medical school professors no longer
want Kadiatou Fanta in the classroom.
Her boyfriend has broken up with her.
Each day the 26-year-old eats alone
and sleeps alone. Even her own family
members are afraid to touch her months
after she survived Ebola.
Long gone are the days when she was
vomiting blood and wracked by fever. And
even with a certificate of health declaring
her as having recovered, she says it ’s still
as though “Ebola survivor” is burned on
“Ebola has ruined my life even though
I am cured,” she says. “No one wants to
spend a minute in my company for fear of
The Ebola virus is only transmitted
through direct contact with bodily fluids
of the sick, such as blood, saliva, urine,
sweat or semen. When the first cases
emerged in Guinea back in March, no one
had ever confronted such a virulent and
gruesome disease in this corner of
The current outbreak now has killed
more than 1000 people, according to the
latest figures from the World Health
Organisation. The fatality rate in previous
Ebola outbreaks has been up to 90%,
though health officials say this time up to
half of victims are surviving.
While there is no specific treatment for
Ebola, patients can be given supportive
care such as intravenous fluids to keep
If they can live long enough to develop
antibodies to the virus they can survive,
though they could still contract other
strains of Ebola in the future, medical
Health workers hope that seeing living
proof that people can survive Ebola will
encourage fearful communities to get
medical care instead of hiding the sick at
home where they can infect relatives.
In Sierra Leone, Sulaiman Kemokai,
20, was released from an Ebola treatment
centre last weekend after spending 25
days there. He still feels stiffness in his
joints but says he is gaining strength each
“ When I became sick, I was scared to
go to hospital, I hid from my family, from
health workers. After four days I couldn’t
hide any more, I was too sick. An Ebola
ambulance collected me and took me to
the hospital,” he recalls.
But some within his community are
reluctant to have any physical contact with
Kemokai. Those released from treatment
centres are no longer contagious, though
Ebola can still be present in men’s semen
for up to seven weeks.
Kemokai will have more family support
than most: His older brother and sister
also have survived Ebola, while the
disease took their mother’s life.
Fanta, the Guinean medical student,
says she was working as an intern at a
clinic in Conakry, the capital, when a
patient came in from the provinces sick
with what doctors initially thought was
malaria. She took the man’s vital signs
but as is common in Guinea she had no
protective gloves or face mask.
About two weeks later, in mid-March,
she started having diarrhoea and soon
was vomiting blood. She says her lasting
troubles began when doctors declared
her cured and discharged her from the
isolation ward at the hospital in early
Although she no longer had the virus
in her bloodstream, she still was visibly
unwell after nearly three weeks in the
hospital. Word of her sickness and
return spread quickly in the poor suburb
of Tanene where she was staying with
The boyfriend she used to see every
day disappeared when he heard she had
Ebola. Now he will not take her calls,
even months later.
She tried to re-enroll with her
medical school courses at Gamal Abdel
Nasser University. In a sign of just how
entrenched misconceptions are of Ebola,
though, even the instructors did not want
her in the classrooms, even though she
handed them her certificate of health.
“I still haven’t taken my exams while
my classmates have moved on to the
next level,” she laments. “ The professors
said they were going to grade me by
Now she is living off what money her
parents can scrape together to send her
from their village, and still dreaming of
when she can resume her courses.
“I want to take care of patients,” she
says. “ The reason I am alive today and
speaking to you now is because doctors
saved me.” — New Zealand Herald
Ebola survivor shunned by boyfriend and school
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