On June 30, Israel’s Supreme Court announced it was revoking a fisherman’s license for fishing with an underwater drone.
The decision followed a complaint filed by a group of fishermen in 2010, claiming that the drone violates Israel’s strict fishing laws.
According to Israeli news reports, the fisherman’s drone was found to be equipped with an infrared camera that recorded their every move.
Israel’s Ministry of the Interior declined to comment on the ruling.
The fishermen, who have not been named, had been fishing near the city of Eilat in northern Israel, and the drone was reportedly fitted with a battery pack that would allow the fishermen to operate it underwater.
“The court’s decision to revoke the fishing license is a clear violation of the right to privacy and the basic rights of citizens to fish,” Yaron Yerushalmi, the head of the Israel Fisheries Federation, told The Jerusalem Times.
“We hope the court will recognize the seriousness of the issue and restore the right of fishing fishermen to safely and responsibly operate underwater drones.”
As the ruling was announced, Israeli President Shimon Peres issued a statement that called the fishing drone a “dangerous and irresponsible device.”
“This decision is an important first step towards safeguarding the right for all fishing activities in the sea, including drone fishing,” the president said in a statement.
The ruling comes a few months after Israel’s top court struck down a controversial law requiring fishermen to obtain a fishing license before using the underwater drone to fish.
In December, the country’s highest court struck the law down, saying it violated the rights of fishermen to exercise their fishing rights without fear of prosecution.
“Our country will continue to work for a fair and just system to ensure the rights and freedoms of all fishermen,” Peres said in December.
“If we do not have a fair, just system, we cannot guarantee the right and safety of all the fishermen.”