Israel expanded the fishing areas for Gazans from six to nine nautical miles Sunday. The extension affected southern and central shores of the Gaza Strip, excluding the areas in the vicinity of the Israeli border.
According to COGAT, the Israeli defense department arm responsible for implementing state policies in the Palestinian territories, the move will bring the equivalent of 400,000 shekels to the Gaza Strip economy.
Over 200 fishing vessels sailed out into the Mediterranean from the Gaza port on Sunday night, following the implementation of the law. Many of them were dissatisfied with their catches.
"I hoped with the new permission for a bumper catch," Raed Abu Ouda, local fisherman, told AFP. "But after 17 hours of work we didn't get what we expected."
Nizar Ayyash, chairman of Palestinian fishermen syndicate in Gaza, called the move by Israel insufficient, given that roughly 1.95 million people live in the area, including some 4,000 engaged in fishing business.
Under the Oslo peace agreement, the fishing area should be as wide as 20 nautical miles from the Gaza shoreline. Israeli authorities said restrictions are conditioned by the necessity to prevent attacks by the Hamas movement.
A naval blockade of the Gaza Strip was put in place in 2007, ostensibly to deter Palestinian militants fighting Israel. Since that time there have been three wars between the sides