Inspectors of the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development, with the assistance of the Lake Kinneret Authority, apprehended yesterday five fish poachers in the Sea of Galilee. The five were caught in three different incidents, in all of which they were caught without fishing licenses and using trawling nets from the shore, a banned method of fishing under the Kinneret Law. The inspectors of the Ministry of Agriculture confiscated the nets and the fish that were caught in it. Through their actions, the fishermen acted in violation of the Fishing Ordinance, harming the development of the fish population in the Sea of Galilee, particularly as the fish population is dwindling and as it is a limited resource that the Ministry is acting to increase.
The criminals who were caught are in their 30s and 50s, all of whom were the residents of Arraba and Maghar villages. They were taken for questioning, and their equipment was seized by the Ministry of Agriculture inspectors for investigational purposes. The penalty for this offense is an administrative fine of NIS 1,500. For repeat offenses, the maximum penalty is three months imprisonment or a fine of NIS 12,900.
The phenomenon of fish poaching in these areas and in this time of year is well known to the Fishing Division and is probably a result of the Sea of Galilee’s waters heating up and the tilapias approaching the shore area to spawn. Illegal fishing in these cases harms the tilapia population and inhibits its reproduction.
Hagai Neuberger, the Director of the Inspection Unit in the Fishing Division of the Ministry of Agriculture states: “The Ministry of Agriculture considers fish poaching very gravely, all the more so in the case of the tilapia’s nesting and spawning period, as is the case here. To prevent the recurrence of these cases, the Ministry of Agriculture has significantly increased the number of inspectors operating in the Sea of Galilee area, and from April 17, 2012 fishing activity in the nesting and spawning area (Betiha Reserve area) will be banned for 60 days.
The Ministry of Agriculture calls the general public to report cases of suspected fish poaching: 073-2211133,03-9559911.