Egypt’s ambassador to Tunisia Nabil Habashi said the embassy is increasing efforts in its negotiations with Tunisian authorities to release a fishing boat detained in Sfax port.
The Egyptian fishing boat, along with 16 fishermen, were detained near the port on Friday on charges of trespassing regional waters.
Habashi said: “The fishermen ignored the warnings by the Tunisian coast guards, which urged the latter to arrest the crew for investigation.”
Dozens of Egyptian fishermen have been detained, or are currently missing in nearby ports of Tunisia, Libya, Yemen, and Sudan. Some of the boats are thought to have sunk and others and their crews have remained in detention for lengthy months. Some 17 fishermen were detained near the port of Benghazi in Libya in mid-August, as they tried to enter the port.
The deterioration of fisheries in Egypt is believed to be the trigger behind the increased influx of Egyptian fishermen travelling to regional waters outside of Egyptian territory.
Fishermen syndicate chief of Kafr Al-Sheikh Ahmed Nassar previously told Daily News Egypt there need to be comprehensive reforms for the Egyptian shores, to ensure self-sufficiency for fisheries in Egypt.
Water pollution is one of the largest challenges facing the fishing industry in Egypt.
In a study conducted by the Egyptian Centre for Social and Economic Rights (ECESR) in early August on Al-Max area in Alexandria, it was discovered that 90% of its residents are working as fishermen.
Heavy industrial factories dump their waste in the canals and water that surrounds the Al-Max area, which directly affects the lives of fish, and, consequently, the living standards for the majority of its citizens.
“If one [fisherman] could not fish one day, he has nothing to eat,” one of the residents told ECESR, referring that the factories actions affects the fishermen’s primary source of income.