ARAL: Fishing In An Invisible Sea

By Carlos Casas

Director’s Statement:
“We wanted to portray the dying process of a sea through the three last affected generations, from the old fisherman, retired who lived the sea, to the adult generation who still survives through fishing in the remain lakes, till the desert generation that survives from nothing, trying to keep the traditions and hope of a return of a more hopeful future. It is a film about the process of death and strength and root ness of people connected to their land. Aral doesn’t speak about politics or ecology it speaks only about the human survival strength. Aral still lives as an invisible presence and memory of what is considered as one of man made biggest disasters of our planet.”


Time-Series Photos From Space of Aral Sea Death
By Brandon Keim
July 13, 2009 via Wired


The destruction of the Aral Sea is one of the great engineering disasters of the 20th century, a mistake on a scale so vast that photographs from space are needed to capture it.

When Soviet officials decided to divert its rivers, turning Kazakhstan’s western deserts into fragile cotton farms, the Aral Sea was the world’s fourth-largest lake, covering an area the size of Ireland. Now it’s less than a tenth of that size. Left behind are 15,000 square miles of salty, toxin-laden lake bed. Sandstorms toss 150,000 tons of it into the region’s air every year, and are linked to intensified regional climate extremes and increased rates of cancer and lung disease.

On Friday, the European Space Agency released before-and-after satellite photographs of the Aral Sea in 2006 and 2009. Earlier satellite images were taken by the United States Geological Survey in 1999, 1987 and 1973, shortly after the sea started to shrink. The photos are shown newest to oldest below. Thanks to a World Bank-funded dam project, the sea’s northern tip will be preserved. The rest, however, is expected to vanish by 2020.