Monday, December 30, 2013

  • Monday, December 30, 2013
  • Elder of Ziyon
One of the most-mentioned anti-Israel topics is how Israel, by enforcing a six nautical mile sea blockade on Gaza, is stopping Gazans from being able to catch the fish that is so critical to their food supply. We are told that the best fish are past the six-mile zone and Israel is trying to starve Gazans. A new report from PCHR reportedly claims says that Gaza fishermen income has gone down 85% because of Israeli restrictions.

As usual, the truth is a bit different.

In fact, the entire Mediterranean has seen a marked downturn in the number of fish available. The main reason is simple - overfishing.

Traditionally, most fish have been caught within one mile of shore. Overfishing and bottom-trawling have turned large parts of the Mediterranean into virtual deserts, as the fishing methods used smooth out the natural spots for fish to lay eggs. After mature fish disappear from an ecosystem, overfishinggoes after the young fish and further disrupt the ability to naturally restock.

In Gaza, the number of fishermen are not regulated and thousands of boats are engaged in destroying the fishing ecosystem.

In other words, the reason that the fish supply in Gaza is so low is because Gaza fishermen are depleting the supply much faster than they can be replenished. This has nothing to do with Israel and it is a problem throughout the region.

Gaza has an additional problem in that raw sewage is being poured into the sea, which also destroys fish.

NGO bias against Israel ensures that they will ignore the actual biological facts about the Mediterranean and instead blame Israel, as always. The irony is that a smart fishing policy could, over years, help bring  biodiversity - and fish  - back to the coast of Gaza. But instead, these NGOs who could be helping find a solution are instead trying to ensure that the few fish remaining will disappear altogether - a very real prospect - because they would rather blame Israel than help fix the real underlying problem.

There is another unreported angle to this story. Israel is helping keep Gaza supplied with fish.

A fish farm in Gaza
Israel has pioneered the creation of fish farms in the desert. In Gaza, Israel has lent expertise and other help with building fish farms - farms that now supply some 30-40% of Gaza's fish, according to  COGAT officials I spoke with.  Some of the fish farms have cameras operated remotely by Israelis so they can watch and ensure that the proper processes are being used. This is a necessary move to ensure an adequate fish supply in the absence of any sane fishing policy by Hamas.

While the haters love to charge Israel with arbitrarily and capriciously destroying Gaza's fish supply, the truth is quite different.




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