In pictures: It's crab season in Gaza
For many Gazans, the period from September to mid-November each year is highly anticipated. Crab season is important not only to the citizens, but to fishermen who rely on fishing as a source of income (Fatima Shbair/MEE)
Many people refer to crabs as "Gaza’s blue gold" due to the colour of the male of the species and their high nutritional value. But female crabs, which are often pink, are usually preferred as they are bigger and contain meat. However, they are found miles away from shore, posing a bigger risk to fishermen. (Fatima Shbair/MEE)
Fishing for crabs has many risks, particularly due to the Israeli occupation, which has reduced the fishing area to 12-15 nautical miles, limiting the amount of crabs or fish that can be sourced and causing over-fishing in some areas. Fishing outside prescribed areas can lead to confiscation of boats and arrests. In the past, the Israeli navy has opened fire on Palestinian boats that venture beyond the zones (Fatima Shbair/MEE).
For many in Gaza the harvest is a family affair, with many fishermen bringing their children along to help.Youngsters assist by untangling crabs from the nets and preparing the nets for use the next morning. Many children support their families through the money they make fishing (Fatima Shbair/MEE)
Crab season is valuable to many in Gaza, which has a high unemployment rate: fishing is one of the few viable industries. Crates of catches are stacked high by the seashore, ready to be cleaned and prepared for sale (Fatima Shbair/MEE)
Demand is so high for the crabs that many Gazans pre-order catches to avoid missing out. Although cleaning and preparing the crabs is time consuming, many await this time of year to buy them (Fatima Shbair/MEE)
Residents queue up near their homes and roadside markets to try and get the best deal on the catches from the fishermen (Fatima Shbair/MEE)
Fishing nets are imported from outside of Gaza, usually Israel, due to a scarcity of raw materials in the territory and limits on items entering the strip. Such restrictions also make it difficult for fishermen to repair their boats (Fatima Shbair/MEE)
Fishermen wash and cut the crabs ready for sale: some customers prefer to buy them de-shelled to avoid being cut by the hard shells (Fatima Shbair/MEE)
Crabs are a delicacy in Gaza. many Palestinians season them with spices and steam them on a low heat (Fatima Shbair/MEE)
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