Many Palestinians in Gaza depend on the sea for their livelihood, but fishing has become increasingly difficult and dangerous as Israeli attacks on fishermen have reduced the zone where they can fish to just six nautical miles from Gaza’s shore.
This is a violation of the Oslo agreement which sets the fishing zone at 20 nautical miles.
For the past few years, Gaza fisherman were allowed to cross into Egyptian waters under the supervision of Egyptian forces, according to Nizar Ayyash, head of the Gaza fishermen’s syndicate.
This helped relieve the pressure as catches shrunk.
But since the 3 July military coup that overthrew Morsi, Palestinian fishermen from Gaza have come under unprecedented attack by Egyptian naval forces and at least three have been injured.
Ayyash said the attacks came without any warning. “We never expected from our Egyptian brothers to open fire on us,” Ayyash said.
Five others were arrested and an Egyptian military court sentenced them to a year in jail, allegedly for fishing in Egyptian waters.
In a new attempt to break Israel’s tight blockade, activists in Gaza are working to transform a fishing boat into “Gaza’s Ark” which will attempt to set sail from Gaza to export goods.
Due to the Israeli siege, virtually no Palestinian-produced goods are allowed out of Gaza.