File photo: Fishermen in Egypt (Photo: Reuters)
Fourteen Egyptian fisherman out of a total 16 are returnng home on Tuesday after reconciliating with the Tunisian authorities over illegally fishing near Sfax Port in the country's territorial waters three weeks ago.
The fishermen told Ahram Online that they are “fine” and will return on an EgyptAir flight taking off from Carthage Airport at 12:30 Cairo Local Time (CLT), arriving around 3:40 CLT (1:40 GMT).
The two remaining crewmen will stay in Tunisia to appeal a 150,000 Tunisian Dinar (EGP 1.2 million) fine imposed on them by the reconciliation committee formed to resolve the issue. The fishermen argue that the fine is too high.
Prior to their release, the fishermen were not being held in detention and were moving freely at Sfax Port, Tunisian agriculture ministry official Abdulla Al-Rabehy said at the time.
Al-Rabehy expressed concerns over what he described as the growing number of Egyptian boats that fish in Tunisian territorial waters without a license.
Fishermen face fines between 30,000 and 300,000 Tunisian Dinars (between EGP 250,000 and EGP 2.5 million) for fishing without a permit, according to Al-Rabehy.
The exchange rate of $1 is to EGP 18.9, according to the Central Bank website.