13 detained Egyptian fishermen return from Tunisia

Thirteen Egyptian fisherman returned to Cairo Friday after being detained in Tunisia 20 days for entering Tunisian territorial waters without a permit.

Security sources at Cairo International Airport said the fishermen arrived on a plane from Tunisia after the Egyptian Embassy in Tunisia helped secure their release.

Tunisian authorities had arrested 17 Egyptian fishermen total on board the Ahmed Jabarti fishing boat. The fishermen were released after authorities checked their identities and made sure there were no court orders for their arrest in Tunisia, said the sources.

The four fisherman who have not yet returned are sailing back on the boat that had been confiscated, the sources added.

Egyptian fishermen are often detained in territorial waters of neighboring countries, as they frequently lack proper permits.

Egypt's natural fisheries have been in decline since the late 1990s. According to the Agriculture Ministry's General Authority for Fish Resources Development, fishermen in the Mediterranean Sea caught 81,000 tons of fish in 2009, a 10 percent decrease from the previous year.

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