Photo Credit: Doron Golan/Flash90
A sign reading 'Polluted Sea, Bathing Prohibited' at Haifa Bay (archive).

The Ministries of Health and Agriculture announced that as of Tuesday evening, fish and marine animals caught in the Mediterranean may be sold in Israel. The ministries will continue to follow-up on the situation together in sampling and testing fish caught in the Mediterranean.

Several beaches from Galilee to Ashkelon were contaminated in February with large amounts of tar from a container that sailed from Egypt opposite Israel’s shoreline. According to the Ministry of Environmental Protection, 16 coastal municipalities experienced a severe oil spill resulting in a heavy layer of tar on their beaches.


Tuesday’s permit was granted after a series of lab tests performed by the Sea and Lakes Exploration lab on fish samples taken from different areas along Israel’s Mediterranean shore, which found no detectable levels of pollutants, or levels of pollutants that do not exceed the maximum permissible threshold.

Meanwhile, the Ministries of the Interior and Health have cleared most of Israel’s beaches for public use.

Cleaning and monitoring operations are continuing in a few beaches that were hit with large deposits of tar, and the public is asked not to enter them.

On most beaches, the season has not yet begun, and bathing in undeclared beaches is prohibited as long as there are no rescue services available there.

The ministries also cautioned that a certain amount of tar that sank near the shallow water may reach the shores later. They are monitoring the situation and will update the public accordingly.


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