The Israeli Authorities have decided, Tuesday, to expand the fishing zone allotted for Palestinian fishers in the besieged Gaza Strip to nine nautical miles instead of six, during the fishing season. The expansion still falls short of the twenty nautical miles set in the Oslo agreement.

The Coordinator of Israeli Government Activities at the Occupied Territories, Major General Yoav “Poli” Mordechai, along with the Navy Commander and the Military commander in the southern region, have decided to expand the fishing zone to nine miles during the fishing season.

Mordechai said that the new decision takes effect starting next Tuesday, November 1, 2016, for two months, to reduce what he called “violations of the naval zone, and “to help expand the fishing industry in the Gaza Strip” as it is the only source of livelihood to thousands of Palestinians.

He added that similar moves were taken in April and May of this year, yielding a %15 increase in Gaza’s fishing production, compared to 2015.

The Israeli navy continuously opens fire on Gaza fishers and their boats in Palestinian territorial waters in the coastal region, and frequently kidnaps the fishers and confiscates their boats.

Such attacks have led to dozens of casualties, including several fatalities among the fishers, in addition to dozens of injuries, and serious property damage.

Israel repeatedly expands and reduces the fishing zone in Gaza, from three to six then to nine, and back to three or six, while the Oslo agreements between Israel and the Palestine Liberation Organization clearly set the fishing zone in the Gaza Strip to twenty nautical miles.