Agriculture and Rural Development Ministry inspectors and police officers took a group of fishermen in for questioning and confiscated their equipment on Tuesday night, after catching them using illegally small-sized nets on Lake Kinneret.
The holes in the nets were below the minimum size required by law – 80 millimeters – because catching such small fish “undermines development of the fish population in the Kinneret,” according to the Agriculture Ministry. If the smallest fish are not sufficiently reproducing, then the natural food chain within the lake’s ecosystem becomes disrupted, as the larger fish have no food to substantiate their own reproduction and expansion.
The fisherman, all in their 40s and residents of Moshav Migdal, had in their vessel about 30 kilograms worth of mullet fish that, for the most part, did not even reach 40 centimeters in length. The minimum size of fish that may be caught is 45 centimeters, the ministry reported. As the inspectors spotted the illegal activity, the fisherman attempted to thwart their capture by throwing the nets into the water and trying to hide from their trackers, according to the ministry.
The penalty for the fishermen’s activity is NIS 1,500, and if repeated, the maximum penalty is NIS 12,900 plus three months of imprisonment.
“The fishing of smaller fish than permitted brings grave harm to the fish population, in their reproductive chain and in their possibility to grow and reproduce,” Hagai Neuberger, director of the inspectors unit in the ministry’s fish and aquaculture department, said in a statement released by his office. “The Kinneret fish population is dwindling, and the Agriculture Ministry is doing all it can to stop the phenomenon and strengthen the fish population.”