The annual fishery in Israel’s southern Galilee is set to be reduced in March because of the ongoing conflict in Gaza, according to the Israel Fisheries Authority.
The ministry of fisheries said on Friday that the annual fishing quota for the year, which is usually about 6.5 million fish, would be reduced from 15 million to 9 million.
The quota was set to fall by 2 million fish by mid-March, but only by one-third.
The fishermen’s union, the Association of Fishermen of Israel (AFI), said that fishermen were still catching up on their catch.
The Association of Israeli Fishermen’s Associations (AIFA), which represents the country’s fishery operators, said that it is working with fisheries management bodies to reach an agreement on the reduction of the quota in order to ensure that fishers do not lose their livelihoods in the ongoing blockade on the Gaza Strip.
Israel has been locked in an escalating blockade on Gaza for more than a year, imposed following Hamas’ takeover of the territory in 2007 and ensuing Israeli military incursion into the territory.
Israel’s government has blamed Hamas for launching several attacks on Israel’s commercial and industrial sectors during the blockade.
Hamas denied responsibility for any of the attacks, and in November, Hamas claimed responsibility for an attack on an Israeli airliner over Egypt, killing all 224 people on board.
Israel imposed its strict blockade on Hamas-controlled Gaza following the 2015 capture of the Gaza strip by Israel in a military operation.
Israel, which has a long history of restricting Palestinian movements and activities in Gaza and the West Bank, says it has the right to blockade Gaza to protect its sovereignty.
Israel says it imposed the blockade after Hamas seized control of the coastal strip in 2007.
The blockade has crippled the fishing industry in the coastal enclave, which was already in dire need of funds to survive, with some fishermen losing their livelihood as they have not been able to pay rent, pay salaries or receive medical treatment.
In November, Israel launched a $2.7 billion loan package to the Gaza fishermen, including a $200 million fund to support the fishermen’s salaries.
The fishery is also struggling to make up for lost revenue from the recent lifting of the Israeli blockade.
Israel said in September that it will raise $2 billion for the fishery over the next two years, but that it expects to have to raise another $500 million in order for it to continue its fishery operations.