ASEZA amends ban on fishing in Aqaba

Fishermen are seen in Aqaba
Fishermen are seen in the Gulf of Aqaba, on November 23, 2018. (Photo: shutterstock)
AMMAN — The Aqaba Special Economic Zone Authority (ASEZA) on Saturday decided to amend an extension that would have banned fishing in Aqaba until the end of July.اضافة اعلان

A source at ASEZA told Jordan News that "starting Sunday, fishermen will be allowed to fish in some special zones only." An earlier decision, announced late last week, would have extended an April 4 ban by 60 days.

Nayef Bakhit, ASEZA president, issued a letter to the Fishermen’s Association earlier on Saturday regarding the decision, indicating that fishermen will be allowed to return to work.

The letter stipulated that fishermen will be allowed to fish in deeper waters but must stay away from shallow areas.

The source told Jordan News that the areas will include zones at a depth of 500 to 1000m. Fishermen will also be restricted in the species of fish they are allowed to catch.

"We have picked these zones specifically for the purposes of preserving the rare and special fish resources in the Gulf of Aqaba and increasing their reproduction," the source said.

"Now that we have reviewed our decision so that we can help fishermen, we have reduced the payment we wanted to give for them to try to compensate from JD400 per month to JD200," the source added.

Mahmoud Ayyad, a fisherman, on Saturday told Jordan News that "we have conducted some meetings with ASEZA since the previous decision was issued, and the last meeting was this morning and we have agreed on some mutuality satisfying points."

"In the meantime, we are satisfied that ASEZA allowed us to fish in some specific areas," Ayyad said, adding that "there are some other demands that they promised us and we are waiting — hopefully everything will be good and satisfying for all parties."

Jordan News previously reported on the ban, citing a source from ASEZA who described the ban as a fragile balancing act to ensure fishermen can make a living, while Aqaba’s marine life stays protected.

Most fishermen Jordan News spoke with at the time resented the decision.

Bader Yasin, president of the Fishermen's Association, had told Jordan News that "fisheries’ advisers from different countries have previously visited Aqaba and advised us not to fish during the period between January and April and in shallow areas only."

"Jordanian authorities have prevented us from fishing in June. You cannot imagine how bad this decision was: fishermen wait for June to fish as it is the best month for fishing," Yasin said.

ASEZA has said the extension to the ban was meant to protect fish stocks and preserve marine life to ensure the fishing industry remained stable.

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