November 11, 2014. Yesterday morning, a truck loaded with fish and shellfish exited Gaza destined for Ramallah in the West Bank. The shipment, sent by two Gaza traders, Mounir Abu Hasireh and Nafez an-Nadaf, included 670 kg of calamari, shrimp, crab, red mullet and other types of fish. This is the first time since 2007 that Gaza seafood is being sold in the West Bank.
In 2007, before the closure, an average of 24 tons of fresh and frozen fish from Gaza were sold in Israel and abroad every month. Israel currently limits Gaza’s fishing zone to six nautical miles off the coast, but has restricted it to as little as three nautical miles at various times since 2006. As a result of these restrictions, catch has declined, dropping in recent years to half of what it was in 1999.
Last Thursday, a truckload of cucumbers destined for sale in Hebron, in the West Bank, left Gaza, breaking a seven year ban on the sale of Gaza goods in the West Bank. Until then, with isolated exceptions, Gaza residents were only permitted to export abroad, but because of high shipping costs and lack of business connections, foreign export was not financially feasible, and Gaza export volumes sank to less than one percent of what they were prior to the closure.