ICJ ruling on maritime border blow for Colombia fishermen

A ruling by the International Court of Justice determining that Colombia maintains sovereignty over the Caribbean island of San Andres, but loses a large chunk of sea is a heavy blow for the island’s fishermen, locals said Monday.

For 11 years, Nicaragua had disputed the maritime borders and laid claim on the islands of San Andres and Providencia and surrounding waters. While the court ruled that the islands belong to Colombia, most of the waters surrounding the islands now belong to Nicaragua.

“We don’t know how our fishermen will be able to work; these people can no longer fish in these waters for generations have used because the court determined they are Nicaraguan territory,” Corinne Duffis of the local Amen Movement told newspaper El Tiempo.

A visible upset Governor Aury Guerrero told press that “it was foreseeable that the islands’ fishermen would be stripped of opportunities.” The governor said that most of the fish the Colombians depend on are now in Nicaraguan waters.

The economy of San Andres, an island located approximately 150 miles off the Nicaraguan coast, depends mostly on tourism. Approximately 4% of the department’s economy depends on fishing.

Disputed waters

Borders after ruling

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