Maan News, February 14, 2009 - Israel has tightened the fishing limit off the coast of Gaza from six miles to just three miles, the Palestinian agriculture minister in Gaza said on Saturday.
According to Agriculture Minister Mohammad Al-Agha, the Israeli Navy has enforced the restrictions since the end of the three-week assault on Gaza in January, firing on fishing boats that approach the three-mile boundary.
Israel has enforced a six-mile limit since October 2006. The Olso peace agreement guarantees Palestinians the right to fish out to 20 nautical miles from Gaza.
Al-Agha said that Israeli gunboats opened fire on Gazan fishermen on Saturday morning, damaging one boat and forcing fishermen to abandon their nets at sea when they fled the Israeli fire.
“The Ministry of Agriculture complained to concerned sides that there are no limits that could prevent farmers and fishermen from making money to survive,” he said, adding that a proposed truce should allow Palestinian life and labor to continue in all walks of life, including the fishing industry.
Al-Agha also said that Gaza’s agricultural sector suffered a half billion dollars in losses, calling for the victims to be compensated and infrastructure rebuilt.