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Cablegate: Gaza Fishermen Report Record Sardine Catch

VZCZCXRO6635
OO RUEHROV
DE RUEHJM #0894 1360923
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
O 160923Z MAY 07
FM AMCONSUL JERUSALEM
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC IMMEDIATE 7557
INFO RUEHXK/ARAB ISRAELI COLLECTIVE PRIORITY
RHEHNSC/NSC WASHDC PRIORITY
RUEATRS/DEPT OF TREASURY WASHDC PRIORITY
RUEHBS/USEU BRUSSELS PRIORITY

UNCLAS JERUSALEM 000894

SIPDIS

SENSITIVE
SIPDIS

NEA FOR FRONT OFFICE; NEA/IPA FOR WILLIAMS/WATERS/BELGRADE;
NSC FOR ABRAMS/DORAN/LOGERFO; TREASURY FOR NUGENT/ADKINS

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: ECON EFIS EAID IS KWBG
SUBJECT: GAZA FISHERMEN REPORT RECORD SARDINE CATCH

REF: JERUSALEM 716

1. (SBU) Gaza fishermen have caught record numbers of
sardines over the last two weeks, bringing down Gaza's market
price for sardines from 25 NIS to 13 NIS per kilo.
Gaza-based Assistant Project Director of USAID's Palestinian
Agribusiness Partnership Activity (PAPA) project Sa'lem
al-Rais told Econoff May 15 that this year's sardine schools
have been swimming north from Egypt within four nautical
miles (n.m.) of the coast, making them catcheable for Gaza
fishermen who have been limited by Israeli navy vessels from
operating more than six n.m. from the coast. Gaza-based OCHA
representative Stuart Shepherd confirmed to Econoff May 15
that sardine fishermen in Gaza are experiencing record
catches. The season runs from early April to mid-June.
Shepherd did not know why the sardines have been swimming
closer to the shoreline, but stated that this year's sardines
are larger than those caught in recent years. Sardines
normally swim between eight to 10 n.m. from the shoreline,
and their shift toward the shore has resulted in the best
sardine season in Gaza in 20 years, said al-Rais.

2. (SBU) Al-Rais reported that, since May 1, Gaza's 45
largest fishing vessels have caught on average 1500 kilos of
sardines each day; while the 70 smaller fishing boats have
caught on average 800 kilos each day. The best sardines
caught this year have been 12 centimeters long, while the
best in 2006 were just 10 centimeters long, said al-Raiz.
The PAPA program is assisting Gaza fisherman by providing
them with capital assets such as nets. Numerous fishermen
have requested larger nets, according to al-Raiz, as those
being used have allegedly been insufficient to lift current
sardine loads. Shepherd stated that the fishermen would have
even greater success if allowed to fish up to ten n.m. from
the coast, as many of the largest sardine schools are
believed to be swimming between six and ten n.m. from the
Gaza coast.
WALLES

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