CAIRO, 2 January 2021 – Tunisian authorities have seized two additional Egyptian fishing boats, accusing them of illegally fishing in Tunisian territorial waters.
A fortnight ago, 17 Egyptians onboard another boat were arrested by Tunisian border guards for the same reason.
The boats, seized Thursday night, were taken to the Tunisian naval base at Sfax, said Amr Abbas, the Egyptian assistant foreign minister for consular affairs and Egyptians abroad.
Abbas said the Egyptian foreign ministry and the embassy in Tunis are following up the matter with Tunisian officials.
According to him, Cairo is making sure that Egyptians held are well treated and will be released safely back to their families.
He added that Cairo is also coordinating with Tunis for the release and safe return of the Egyptian fishermen arrested.
Abbas pleaded with Egyptian fishersmen to refrain from entering the territorial waters of other countries, out of respect for the sovereignty of those countries and to avoid putting their own lives at risk.
The fishing industry is a very important part of the Tunisian economy.
In the fourth quarter of 2019, the agricultural and fisheries sector in Tunisia contributed aporoximately one billion U.S. dollars to Tunisia’s gross domestic product (GDP).
Egypt’s aquaculture production (921585 tonnes in 2010) is by far the largest of any African country. .