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Ceasefire deal brings new types of fish to Gaza markets

Nov. 27, 2012 3:01 A.M. (Updated: Dec. 2, 2012 12:34 A.M.)
GAZA CITY (Ma'an) -- New types of fresh fish can be found in Gaza's markets following an easing of Israel's coastal blockade over the weekend.

As part of a ceasefire to end Israel's eight-day war on Gaza, Israel agreed to allow fishermen to sail six nautical miles off the coast of Gaza instead of three, which had been the limit under Israel's siege.

Fishermen welcomed the move, but said they hoped the fishing zone would be extended further.

The head of Gaza's fishing association Mahfouth al-Kabriti says that the 6-mile zone is mostly sandy, and fishermen need to go 10 or 12 miles out to sea for sufficient hauls.

Al-Kabriti told Ma'an that historically, fishing had been a key sector in the local economy. Under Israel's blockade, most fish is imported through tunnels from Egypt or harvested from fish farms.

In the Oslo Accords, Israel agreed to a 20-nautical-mile fishing zone off Gaza's coast but it has imposed a 3-mile limit for several years, opening fire at fishermen who strayed further.

Israel has controlled Gaza waters since its occupation of the area in 1967, and has kept several warships stationed off the coast since 2008.
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