Warning! Warning! Presbyterians, Episcopalians, Quakers and other humanitarian liberals, including academics, who encourage divesting from and boycotting Israel (because its citizens refuse to roll over and die when millions of so called third world citizens try to slaughter them), are urged not to read the following as it might be dangerous to your health. Not to mention your reasoning, your logic, your knowledge. And that of millions of others.
Those devious Israelis have again successfully established not only the seemingly impossible but the seemingly anomalous fish farms in the desert:
Scientists here say they realized they were on to something when they found that brackish water drilled from underground desert aquifers hundreds of feet deep could be used to raise warm-water fish. The geothermal water, less than one-tenth as saline as sea water, free of pollutants and a toasty 98 degrees on average, proved an ideal match.
"It was not simple to convince people that growing fish in the desert makes sense," said Samuel Appelbaum, a professor and fish biologist at the Jacob Blaustein Institutes for Desert Research at the Sede Boqer campus of Ben-Gurion University of the Negev.
"It is important to stop with the reputation that arid land is nonfertile, useless land," said Professor Appelbaum, who pioneered the concept of desert aquaculture in Israel in the late 1980s. "We should consider arid land where subsurface water exists as land that has great opportunities, especially in food production because of the low level of competition on the land itself and because it gives opportunities to its inhabitants."
Not content with this creative innovation Applebaum and other researchers extended the concept of desert farming to plant farming by demonstrating to farmers that
they could later use the water in which the fish are raised to irrigate their crops in a system called double usage. The organic waste produced by the cultured fish makes the water especially useful, because it acts as fertilizer for the crops.
As a result
The chain of multiple users for the water is potentially a model that can be copied, especially in arid third world countries where farmers struggle to produce crops, and Israeli scientists have recently been peddling their ideas abroad.
Dry lands cover about 40 percent of the planet, and the people who live on them are often among the poorest in the world. Scientists are working to share the desert aquaculture technology they fine-tuned here with Tanzania, India, Australia and China, among others. (Similar methods of fish farming are also being used in the Sonoran Desert of Arizona.)
"Each farm could run itself, which is important in the developing world," said Alon Tal, a leading Israeli environmental activist who recently organized a conference on desertification, with the United Nations Convention to Combat Desertification and Ben-Gurion University, that brought policy makers and scientists from 30 countries to Israel.
"A whole village could adopt such a system," Dr. Tal added
Indeed, this might be the most amazing result of Israel's desert fish farming program; a UN official actually praised Israel.
At the conference, Gregoire de Kalbermatten, deputy secretary general of the antidesertification group at the United Nations, said, "We need to learn from the resilience of Israel in developing dry lands."
So, except for those warned above--eat your fish; it's good for you. And the world.