Palestinian Federation of Labour Union on Thursday issued a call on Israel to release the Gazan fishermen, whom Israel detained since ceasefire was agreed with Palestinian groups on Aug. 26, last year.
The federation said in a statement that Israeli naval forces detained 60 Gazan fishermen since the ceasefire agreement, five of them were detained on Tuesday.
Israel continues harassing fishermen in Gaza’s territorial waters.
Since Aug. 26, Israel has confiscated 30 fishing boats, destroying three of them opening fire with artilleries.
According to international law, the Gazan fishermen are free to fish within 20 nautical miles off the Gaza coast. Israel has announced it increased the fishing zone from three to six nautical miles after the last war in July, but Palestinian officials say Israeli army doesn’t allow them to fishing in the zone and opens fire on them at times.
Fishing industry is one of the limited sources of livelihood for the people in besieged Gaza, that has been under heavy embargo.
Gaza’s fishing sector has been facing a decade-long crisis and the fishermen lost estimated 300-400 tons of fish, amounting to $3 million in revenues, according to Palestinian Centre for Human Rights (PCHR.).
According to the United Nations, more than 10,000 registered fishermen worked off Gaza coast, but this number dropped dramatically standing at around 3,500 today. The Union of Agriculture Work Committees in Gaza says only a one third of them go out to sea regularly.