"Once Written Off for Dead, the Aral Sea Is Now Full of Life"

"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.”"

Dene-Hern Chen and Taylor Weidman report for the Pulitzer Center/National Geographic March 16, 2018.

Source: Pulitzer Center, 03/28/2018