Israel has expanded the approved fishing zone for Gazans to 15 nautical miles (equivalent to 28.8 kilometres from the shoreline) on Monday, the military said – the furthest distance in two decades, despite recent rocket attacks from the territory.
Previously the zone was set at 6-9 miles (9-15km) from the coast, having being tightened following the Second Intifada.
The newly expanded zone is the longest fishing range allowed in the Gaza Strip since the signing of the Oslo Accords in 1993.
According to the Coordinator of Government Activities in the Territories, the expansion was confirmed due to “civilian policy to prevent humanitarian deterioration in the Gaza Strip, and policy that distinguishes between terrorism and the uninvolved population”.
April to June are peak fishing season in Gaza. The sector accounts for less than 5% of the territory’s GDP and supports some 50,000 people.
Israel’s move has been welcomed by the UN’s Middle East envoy.