Thursday, 15 November 2018 09:40

Israel: Extension of Gaza fishing zone

Israel’s Defence Ministry announced in late October a re-extension of Gaza’s fishing zone, which had been tightened following border hostilities and Palestinian demonstrations of the Great Return March which began in March. "Israel informed the Palestinian side that it has decided to extend the fishing area to nine nautical miles from the centre to the south and six miles from the centre to the north of the strip," said the chairperson of the fishing committee of the enclave Zakareya Bakr in a statement.

The fishing zone had been as wide as 20 nautical miles from shore as agreed in the 1995 Oslo Accords, and 12 nautical miles following the 2002 Berlin Commitments. It has in recent times been “by default” six nautical miles except during frequent restrictions. Earlier in October, the Defence Ministry ordered a tightening to three nautical miles, which severely impacted local fishermen because of the small quantities of fish found so close to shore.

In addition to tightening the fishing zone, other past measures taken because of hostilities have included restrictions on fuel supplies and closures of commercial crossings from Gaza, which also adversely affect fishermen. Gaza-harvested fish is sold locally as well as in other Palestinian areas and in Israel.