When the marshes were drained, Sajjad Fathel, 25, moved to the Al Faw peninsula to become a saltwater fisherman. Recently he returned to fish with his brothers in the new waters.
"We get one [44-pound] basket of fish a day and we sell it for 5,000 or 6,000 dinars [about $3 to $3.75]," Fathel said. In the bottom of his boat lay a modest pile of tiny mullet.
"As time goes by, the fish here will be bigger and more plentiful," he declared, grinning.
When the regime fell, fishermen in the area broke down the earthen-dam walls, causing water from the Shatt al Arab and Tigris rivers to flood the former marshlands.
"As soon as the British forces came, we broke the dam. I was with them. We used spades and axes. We knew what to do. We didn't need a leader or a sheik to tell us. We were just waiting for the chance," Fathel said.