For the first time since 2006, the Israel navy has allowed Gaza fisherman to expand the area where they are allowed to fish – from six nautical miles off the coast to nine. The local fishing industry had great hopes for this, anticipating an increase of 400,000 shekels (about $106,000) to the annual revenue, but on the first trip out, many fisherman came back disappointed. “I found nothing on this trip — three, six and nine miles are all the same,” says 32-year-old Raed Abu Owda, who was been a fisherman since he was 11. “This space is not enough for thousands of fishermen in Gaza with their boats.”
These fishermen come from generations of mariners; many live below the poverty line. According to the World Bank, Gaza has the highest unemployment rate in the world, at nearly 40% of the population.
Take a look at these stunning photos from photographer Jehad Seftawi depicting Gaza’s fisherman at work —