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Israel introduces fishing ban in Sea of Galilee

Fishing boat on Sea of Galilee,  1898

Fishing boat on Sea of Galilee, 1898

The Israeli government has introduced a two year fishing ban in the Sea of Galilee, in order to protect fish stocks there.

Scientists who study the freshwater lake say fishermen have been using nets with smaller and smaller mesh over the years, catching more small fish to match the tonnage of big fish they caught in past decades. In recent years, up to 80 percent of fish pulled from the lake were under legal size limits,PA reported.

While as recently as 2005 almost 300 tonnes of the local St Peter's Fish were caught here, last year that figure fell to just eight tonnes.

Prime Minister Netanyahu said fishermen would receive financial support during the ban.

Since Biblical times,  the Sea of Galilee has supported fishermen and their communities along its shores. In  the Gospels, when Jesus told Peter to cast his nets into deep water, "they caught fish in such large numbers their nets began to break".

The Israeli government have pledged to restore fish to the Sea and in future will enforce fishing regulations more strictly.  The ban will not affect tourist boats.