Fishing off Israel’s Mediterranean coast is now subject to new limitations, as the reproductive season for a number of fish species begins. This includes a total ban for April and May on some kinds of fishing near the shore and limitations on areas where trawler ships that conduct larger-scale fishing can operate.
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The limitations, which began this weekend, are being imposed through new terms contained in fishing licenses in an effort to prevent harm to fish stocks during the reproductive season. These measures should help replenish fish populations that have declined in recent years due to year-round fishing. Over the past two decades, there has been a 50 percent decline in fish catch near the shore and a 30 percent drop in the catch of migratory fish off of Israel’s coast, the Agriculture and Rural Development Ministry reported.
The new conditions also include a total ban for the next two months on sport fishing, which is carried out either with an underwater rifle or with fishing rods from small boats. The new regulations also ban the use of nets to catch fish near the shore. The Israel Sport Fishing Association has filed a petition with the High Court of Justice challenging the new license conditions. The group also sought an interim injunction against enforcement of the new terms. The court denied the injunction but will consider the case on its merits.