Egypt moves to ban foreign fishing boats in its territorial waters

Fishermen in Alexandria, Egypt.

Egypt’s House of Representatives has approved articles of a new bill supporters say is critical to improving regulations on the protection and development of the country's fisheries.

The approval of Article 40 of the new bill paves the way for a ban on all foreign fishing boats from operating in Egyptian territorial or economic waters. However, the ban will only be implemented if it does not affect Egypt’s existing laws granting concessions to foreign investors developing the country's natural resources and public utilities systems.

The Egyptian House also approved an article that outlaw draining or filling lakes currently under the supervision of the Egyptian Lakes and Fisheries Protection and Development Authority without governmental approval. And it approved an article that bans the “dumping or discharging of toxic, radioactive, or petroleum materials or untreated sewage water into Egyptian waters from ships or factories" that might harm aquatic wealth, aquatic life, or fishing activities.

Egypt has been implementing Law No. 124/1983, that allows the use of brackish and marine water, and infertile land, which is not suitable for agriculture, for aquaculture. The law restricts water supplies from lakes and drainages because it prohibits the use of fresh water, reserving it for agricultural irrigation. However, government-established hatcheries are exempted from the rule – with the Ministry of Agriculture mandated to specify areas for fish farming by decree.

Protecting and developing Egypt’s inland and marine fisheries is part of the country’s drive to sustain current fish production levels, estimated at two million metric tons of fish from farms and fisheries.

Egypt’s fish wealth “is one of the most-important sources of national income, as well as a source of safe protein that provides food needs internally and develops other industries alongside," according to the U.N.'s FAO.

Egypt's fisheries include the Red and Mediterranean seas; lakes such as Manzala, Burullus, Bardawil, Edku, Qarun and Mariout; the two branches, canals, and drainages of the Nile River.

Photo courtesy of arapix/Shutterstock


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