PCHR Condemns Israeli Authorities’ Decision to Decrease Fishing Area to Three Nautical Miles

The Palestinian Center for Human Rights (PCHR) condemns the Israeli authorities’ decision on Monday, 16 July 2018, to decrease the fishing area from 6 to 3 nautical miles adjacent to the Gaza Strip shore. PCHR considers that this decision is part of collective punishment practiced against Palestinian civilians in the Gaza Strip, which partly targets tightening on fishermen, who are banned from fishing freely and denied access to the areas where fish breed.

On 09 July 2018, the Israeli authorities decided to reduce the fishing area to 6 nautical miles off the Gaza Strip shore. This is part of the tightening policy on fishermen and fighting them in their means of livelihood.

Nizar ‘Ayash, Head of the General Union of Fishing Workers in the Gaza Strip, said to PCHR’s fieldworker that reducing the fishing area would disastrously reflect on the economic and living conditions for around 4000 fishermen and 1500 workers, professionals and fishing enthusiasts, who are associated with fishing in the Gaza Strip. ‘Ayash added that Palestinian fishermen seriously suffer due to tightening on them and restricting their movement in the Gaza water, causing them great losses, taking into consideration that the 12 nautical miles is the area where fish breed in addition to the Israeli forces’ continued attacks against fishermen off the Gaza Strip shore. ‘Ayash emphasized that after the Palestinian Ministry of Agriculture received the Israeli authorities’ decision through the Palestinian Civil Affairs Authority, it informed the Palestinian fishermen on Monday 16 July 2018, about reducing the fishing area to 3 nautical miles off the Gaza Strip shore. This would result in depriving the fishermen from work and access to areas where the fish breed.

PCHR confirms that the decision to reduce the fishing area affects the economic and social rights of Palestinian fishermen and is in violation of the right to work according to Article (6) of the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights. Thus, PCHR:

  • Calls upon the Israeli authorities to immediately reverse the decision of decreasing the fishing area and to enable fishermen to fish and sail freely, especially that they do not pose threat to the Israel authorities; and
  • Calls upon the international community to pressurize the Israeli authorities into ending the naval blockade, which led to the deterioration of the fishermen and their families’ living conditions, and stopping all violations against the Palestinian fishermen in the Gaza Strip.