Israel extends fishing rights for Gazan fishermen
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Israel extends fishing rights for Gazan fishermen

Israeli officials say decision to expand permitted area south of Wadi Gaza could add NIS 400,000 to Strip’s annual economy

Illustrative: Palestinian fishermen, as seen in boats at the port of Gaza City, May 13, 2015 (Aaed  Tayeh/Flash90)
Illustrative: Palestinian fishermen, as seen in boats at the port of Gaza City, May 13, 2015 (Aaed Tayeh/Flash90)

Israel is to extend the distance off the Gaza Strip coast that some of the Palestinian territory’s fishermen are allowed to operate from Sunday, their trade union said Friday.

Fishing boats working out of ports in the southern part of the Strip will be allowed up to nine nautical miles off the coast, the chairman of the Gaza fishermen’s union, Nizar Ayyash, said.

He said that the previous six-mile limit would be retained in waters off the north of Gaza which neighbor those of Israel.

COGAT, the Defense Ministry body responsible for implementing Israeli policies in the Palestinian territories, said on its Facebook page that ahead of the fishing season, the navy “decided to expand fishing south of Wadi Gaza from six to nine miles.”

The wadi, or stream bed, reaches the Mediterranean just south of Gaza City.

COGAT estimated the decision could add NIS 400,000 ($106,000; 93,000 euros) a year to the Gazan economy.

Around 4,000 fishermen work in Gaza, more than half of whom live below the poverty line.

The territory remains under Israeli blockade and Israeli forces routinely fire on any fishing vessel close to the outer limit.

Israel maintains the blockade to prevent Hamas, a terror group avowedly devoted to the destruction of Israel, from importing weaponry. Hamas seized control of Gaza in a violent coup against the Palestinian Authority in 2007.

Times of Israel staff contributed to this report.

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