An angler shows the fish he got in Egypt's Sharqiya Province, Aug. 23, 2019. Mohammed al-Sayyed, a 32-year-old Egyptian angler, started a campaign together with his friends, to increase the fish population in the Nile River. (Xinhua/Ahmed Gomaa)
by Ahmed Shafiq
SHARQIYA, Egypt, Sept. 7 (Xinhua) -- Mohammed al-Sayyed, a 32-year-old Egyptian angler, started a campaign together with his friends, to increase the fish population in the Nile River.
"High growth of human population leads to overfishing and species loss. So, we had to think of a smart idea to overcome this problem," al-Sayyed told Xinhua as he casted his rod into the River Nile in the Delta province of Sharqiya.
The middle-aged man said that the campaign, which was launched in May, targets at increasing fishery through releasing baby fish, also known as fry, into the Nile water.
"The campaign kicked off with releasing 3,000 baby fish into the Nile ... I bought the fish from a local fishing farm and paid the money from my own pocket," he said, while holding his fishing rod.
The man said he made a short video about releasing the fish and uploaded it on a fishing-related YouTube channel he created four years ago, noting that the video prompted many people to join the campaign.
"I was much encouraged by large numbers of the channel members who also helped financially to go on with the campaign," he said. "We have released more than 100,000 baby fish in Sharqiya province so far."
Al-Sayyed, who works for a factory manufacturing electric lines, said the campaign targets releasing one million fish during 2019, noting that he has to stop the campaign during winter because big fish eat fry during the winter season.
He also said that releasing baby fish into the Nile is not the way to increase fishery.
"We also have other issues such as protection and conversation of the Nile and how to keep Egypt's lifeline clean and healthy," he said.
He expressed hope that the campaign would yield positive results and help anglers and fishermen improve their catch.
For al-Sayyed, angling is not just a hobby, but rather a sport, a stress reliever and a life style.
In Egypt, watching people of all ages sitting by the river with fishing rod in the water has become a very popular scene, he said.
"Besides being a hobby, angling is also a source of food and income for many poor families, mainly in rural areas," al-Sayyed added as he baited a fishing hook.
He said that he started the hobby of angling at the age of 13, and used to fish in a small canal in his village with a hand-made rod. He has started to save up money to improve his fishing tools.
"I learned much from old anglers in my village in Sharqiya ... then I started to watch videos on fishing techniques on YouTube after I bought professional rod some 10 years ago," he said.
The angler pointed out that fishing is not so easy as people think, saying that it requires training, patience and focus.
In addition to fishing, al-Sayyed is now teaching people how to catch fish through his channel on YouTube where he uploads videos showing angling techniques.
"The idea of creating this channel came across my mind when I found that more people are watching and reacting to my videos on my Facebook page," he said. "The channel has more than 180,000 subscribers and the access is really high."
Al-Sayyed said his channel can be used as a guide for all anglers as the videos cover everything from the types of fishing to essential equipment.
"In my videos, I show anglers how to reel in a fish, the best places to go. I also explain smart tactics for finding and catching fish," he said, adding that his channel is the first of its kind in Egypt.