Argument: Blockade damages Gaza fishing industry

Issue Report: Israeli blockade of Gaza

Extended argument

The sea blockade has caused damage to Gaza fishing industry. Palestinian fishing was originally to be permitted up to 20 nautical miles offshore under the 1994 Gaza Jericho agreement. The agreement wasn’t implemented and Israel allows fishermen to travel only 3 nautical miles offshore, reduced from 6nm in 2007. The UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs has estimated that Gaza fishermen need to journey at least 12-15 nautical miles from shore to catch larger shoals, and sardines in particular are 6 nm offshore. Shoals closer to shore have been depleted. The total catch in 1999 was nearly 4,000 tons in pre-blockade 1999. This was reduced to 2,700 tons in 2008. In the 90s, the Gaza fishing industry was worth $10 million annually or 4% of the total Palestinian economy; this was halved between 2001 and 2006. 45,000 Palestinians were employed in the fishing industry, employed in jobs such as catching fish, repairing nets and selling fish. Fish also provided much-needed animal protein to Gazans’ diet.