Monday, 4 April 2016

Gaza fishing zone officially extended.

The decision to extend the fishing zone of some parts of the Gaza coast, to 9 nautical miles instead of  6, has to be welcomed, but does not go far enough. This all took effect early on Sunday morning, the Palestinian Civil  administration have announced.
As part of Israels illegal  blockade  of the coastal enclave since 2005, Palestinian fishermen have been required to  work  within a limited 'designated fishing zone " often having to endure Israeli forces  opening fire, when posing no threat whatsoever, just doing their job in  order to secure a living. Since December 2015, Israeli occupation forces have killed one fisherman, injured 17 and arrested 63,  confiscated 19 fishing boats and destroying  fishing equipment on 12 ocassions, harassed by Israeli  gunboats,  often fishermen have been taken to Israeli  ports blindfolded and handcuffed and questioned under aggressive interrogation techniques. The Israeli navy frequently targets fishing boats in Gaza's territorial waters, even while on shore , on n Saturday Israeli naval boats fired several ive rounds and shells on Palestinian fishing boats, near the Rafah shore.
 All this has had long term impact on the Gazan fishermans ability to feed their families. Because up to now most of the fish was at least  nine miles at sea , it has been a daily struggle to make a living with 90% relying on International Aid.
Around 4,000 fishermen work in Gaza more than half of them who live below the poverty line.  For any chance of their livelihood  being protected their must be an immediate end to the blockade and restrictions that prevent civilians like this providing for their families. This would mean further loosening the restrictions to 20 miles  as laid down by the Oslo peace accords of the 1990's. The restrictions still too narrow to provide for the people of the impoverished Gaza strip. Hopefully now the fishing zone has been expanded it should now result in a bigger catch in these deeper waters, where fish are more abundant.
More than 200 fishing boats headed out from Gazas port on Sunday night  catching  on average 8 kilograms (17 bs) each, including red mullet, grouper, sea bream and some small rays.



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