The agricultural department in the holy Shiite city of Najaf has initiated a project to establish 650,000 fish farms to bread and rear carp and silverfish.
The project aims at enhancing fish production in Najaf province, according to a statement released by the Iraqi Ministry of Agriculture's media office and received by Aswat al-Iraq- Voices of Iraq- (VOI).
The farms have been set up in Ibn Najm Marsh, al-Hamam area, and al-Ghazali river in al-Huriya district, the statement explained.
Ibn Najm (40 km north of Najaf city) is one of the largest marshes in the country, which was drained by the former Iraqi regime. The ministry currently plans to revive the marsh and increase its fish production.
Najaf, 160 km southwest of the Iraqi capital Baghdad, has an estimated population of 900,600 in 2008, though this has increased significantly since 2003 due to immigration from abroad. The city is one of the holiest cities of Shiite Islam and the center of Shiite political power in Iraq.
Najaf is renowned as the site of the tomb of Ali ibn Abi Taleb (also known as "Imam Ali"), whom Shiites consider to be the righteous caliph and first imam.
The city is now a great center of pilgrimage from throughout the Shiite Islamic world. It is estimated that only Mecca and Medina receive more Muslim pilgrims.
(Voices of Iraq)