Palestinian fisherman cashes in on monster tuna haul off Gaza coast
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Palestinian fisherman cashes in on monster tuna haul off Gaza coast

Angler reels in NIS 5,000 for two large fish caught in deep waters, after Israel extends fishing zone off coast of enclave

Adam Rasgon is the Palestinian affairs reporter at The Times of Israel

Palestinian fishing boats are seen in the Mediterranean Sea at the port in Gaza City on May 10, 2019. (Mohammed Abed/AFP)
Palestinian fishing boats are seen in the Mediterranean Sea at the port in Gaza City on May 10, 2019. (Mohammed Abed/AFP)

A Palestinian fisherman had an unexpected windfall when he caught two large tuna fish off the coast of the Gaza Strip on Wednesday, which he sold for a total of NIS 5,000 ($1,417), a union official said.

The tuna fish weighed in at 80 (176 lb) and 160 kilograms (353 lb), respectively, according to Nizar Ayyash, the head of the Fishermen’s Union in the territory.

“He made the catch in the deep waters,” Ayyash told The Times of Israel. “That is where the tuna is located.”

In recent months Israel has extended the range that Gazans can fish to as far as 12 nautical miles off the coast, giving fishermen access to the tuna.

Pictures posted on social media showed a group of Palestinians crowding around one of the tuna fish.

 

For part of the summer, Israel frequently increased and decreased the size of the permitted fishing zone off the coast of the enclave, which Palestinian fishermen decried as a policy of collective punishment.

At the time, Israeli security officials said the amendments were a response to the increases and decreases in arson balloons and, in some cases, rockets that Palestinians in Gaza had launched into Israel.

Israel and Egypt maintain many restrictions on the movement of people and goods into and out of Gaza.

Israeli officials contend the limitations on movement seek to prevent terror groups in Gaza from transferring weapons and arms into the coastal territory.

There are 3,700 registered fishermen in Gaza, the overwhelming majority of which live below the poverty line, B’Tselem, an Israeli human rights group, said in a February 2019 report.

Approximately half of them do not fish on a daily basis because they either cannot use their boats due to a lack of spare parts, or cannot access their boats since the Israeli military confiscated them, the report said.

Fishermen in Gaza provide for an estimated 18,250 people other than themselves, the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) said in a April 2018 report.

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