Gaza’s first marine fish farm helps make up for dwindling catch
GAZA: A fish farm established last year in the Mediterranean Sea near Gaza has begun producing sea bream for the local market as well as for export to the occupied West Bank, providing vital food and the economy. Cash has received a welcome boost.
The facility, set up by the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations in partnership with Italy about four nautical miles offshore, is one of several projects to bolster the local fishing industry and boost business in Gaza. .
Fish exports have recently suffered due to restrictions imposed by Israel in August, but these are expected to be eased.
Gaza’s fishing boats have long operated under a strict blockade imposed by both Israel and Egypt, making it too expensive for many to operate and reducing the size of their catch. has reduced, hampering economic development in the enclave, where just over half the population lives. In poverty
Abdul Nasir Madhi, head of the Offshore Fish Farm Project, said the new facilities help bring in important funds for the fishing industry and strengthen export ties.
Madi added that he expects 60-80 tonnes of sea bream production in the first year to be split between the Gaza and West Bank markets. He said dealers from the West Bank were competing to buy the project’s fish.
The fishing industry has been affected by export restrictions imposed by Israel, which controls access for exports from Gaza to markets in the occupied West Bank, and which has fought repeated wars with Gaza’s Islamist Hamas rulers. have fought
In August, when Israel bombed targets linked to the Islamic Jihad movement in Gaza in a brief three-day campaign, exports were halted for two weeks, before returning to a fifth of the normal level of 100 tonnes a month. But allowed to resume, the money belongs to the Palestinians. Said was insufficient.
The Israeli Ministry of Agriculture said on Tuesday that the reduced levels after the illegal smuggling of fish from Gaza are related to public health concerns, but Israel has decided to set the quota at 40 tonnes.
Yasir al-Haj, who owns a restaurant on the beach and coastal fish farms that produce up to 300 tonnes of sea bream a year, 80 percent of which is exported to the West Bank, said exports had resumed on Wednesday. will begin.
“We suffered a lot. We agreed to resume exports on the promise that the Israelis would gradually increase the amount allowed,” he said.