Aral Sea

Fishing camels of the Aral Sea

From December to March, one can see a strange ballet on the iced water of the northern part of the Aral Sea: Camels hipshot as they draw fishing nets out of the water or pull sledges covered with fishes. They accompany the last fishermen of the shrunken sea in their quest for fish.
Jakslik Kijimbaev’s father and grand-father were fishermen He is born on the sea side but never knew the flourishing period of industrial fishing. At the time he was a man with a family to feed, the tide had long ago deserted the beach, leaving huge rotting carcass of the boats. In his village, all the men spend the winter days crouching on the ice, fishing a turbot, implemented in the 70’s by the soviet government to try to save the fishing industry.
The camels are his only wealth. In this arid and desert region, where houses are sand-brick built, money is scarce and shops hundreds of kilometers distant. The home rhythm runs around the camels ‘one and the need to keep the stove warm. Camel produces milk and wool and back the man in the fishing.

Text : Gael Guichard



Laurent weyl


Gaël Guichard