"ARALSK DISTRICT, KAZAKHSTAN – Omirserik Ibragimov fixed his gaze on the hole he had carved out from the frozen Aral Sea. The 25-year-old’s hands moved steadily, pulling out a fishing net that he and his father had left under the solid, snow-covered surface just three days earlier.
After a minute marked by tense silence, two breams emerged from the hole. Then three pike-perches, their silver scales shimmering as they struggled against the net’s green meshing.
“Here comes the gold,” Omirserik said with a smile as he continued tugging the net. The pike-perch, with its tender flesh and few bones, is considered to be the most valuable catch, selling for roughly 650 tenge (a little over $2) for a kilogram; local fishermen refer to them as “gold fish.”"