Gaza fishermen struggle as Israel reduces fishing zone

GAZA, Oct 11 (Reuters) - Gaza fisherman Akram Mikdad says he is struggling to provide for his family of 10 after Israel tightened the restricted fishing zone it enforces off the Palestinian enclave from nine to six nautical miles.

“The catch is low,” said Mikdad. “I am working hard for my children - we are 10 people - and we can’t make a living. We go to sea but every day there are problems and shootings so we don’t have good fishing.”

“It is an unbearable life, we are unable to live like this,” said 45-year-old Mikdad, one of about 3,700 fishermen in Gaza, an enclave dominated by the Hamas Islamist militant group.

Israeli Defence Minister Avigdor Lieberman said on Saturday the new limitations on fishing followed Palestinian attempts to infiltrate Israel and harm Israeli forces across the border.

Palestinians have been mounting protests along the Israel-Gaza frontier, including attempts to breach a security fence, drawing lethal Israeli fire.

Gazans have also launched flotillas towards the maritime border with Israel.

Traders in Gaza’s fish market say prices have risen because the supply of fish cannot meet demand in the enclave of 2 million, which is in deep economic crisis.

Both Israel and Egypt keep tight control of their borders with Gaza, citing security concerns.

“We have no space,” said fisherman Ali al-Assi, 64. “If we go to the north then the Israeli navy will push us back, and if you go to the south the Egyptians are there.” (Reporting by Mohammed Shana; Editing by Hugh Lawson)