Israel bans seafood sales after devastating Mediterranean oil spill

Israel bans seafood sales after devastating Mediterranean oil spill
Fish and other marine life have been barred from sale for consumption until further notice.
2 min read
25 February, 2021
Authorities say the spill will have consequences for years to come [Getty]
Israel's health ministry on Wednesday banned the sale of seafood from the Mediterranean Sea following an oil spill that has severely contaminated the country's coastline.

Fish and marine life are barred from sale for consumption until the ministry issues new guidance.

The health ministry said the move was made "in light of the environmental pollution in the Mediterranean Sea" with tar found several Israeli beaches in recent days".

Tar has washed up along 160 kilometers of Israel's Mediterranean coastline following an oil spill from an unidentified source, making its way to a nature reserve in Lebanon. Authorities have reportedly identified several tankers under suspicion.

The spill is believed to have taken place between 6 and 10 February, which Israel's Nature and Parks Authority has called one of the "worst ecological disasters" in Israel's history. It warned that the "consequences will be seen for years to come".

Israeli authorities on Sunday urged citizens to stay away from beaches due to health hazards posed by the tar, which has ravaged wildlife in the area.

Thousands of volunteers have descended on the beaches in recent days to help clear the tar and rescue animals, including turtles, birds and fish that had ingested or been covered in oil.

Israel's Environmental Protection Minister Gila Gamliel said on Sunday that the cleanup operation will cost tens of millions of shekels (millions of dollars) and threatened to sue the insurance company of the ship that has caused the spill. 

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