Fishermen in the Gaza Strip have been preparing their nets and fishing equipment ready to set sail into the extended parameters the Israeli occupation has approved for them.
Over 3,500 fishermen in the Gaza Strip have high hopes for a successful catch steps taken to force Israel to extend the fishing radius to nine nautical miles were fruitful.
The Oslo Accords, signed in 1993, as well as subsequent economic protocols, provide for the right of fishermen in Gaza to sail within a 20 nautical mile radius for fishing purposes. However, this right has not been implemented for over 15 years.
After the latest Israeli attack on the Gaza Strip in July 2014, the Israeli occupation allowed fishermen access to only a six nautical mile radius. However, the Fishermen's Union said that the Israeli naval forces hinder the fishing activities off Gaza's coast and opens fire on their boats on an almost daily basis.
Nizar Ayyash, chairman of the Gaza Fishermen's Union, said that the expansion process has actually started and the Israeli occupation is allowing fishermen to sail within this radius for the first time since the latest attack on Gaza in 2014.
He added that fishermen have been allowed to fish within a nine nautical mile radius from Wadi Gaza to Rafah. However, in some northern areas, the fishing radius remains at six nautical miles for security reasons, according to the occupation forces.
Ayyash expects the extended radius to allow fishermen to catch larger shoal of fish however the variety remains the same. This will, in turn, drive fish prices down.