Towards sustainable fisheries in Tunisia
To foster the dialogue among stakeholders and promote the concept of sustainable fisheries in Marine Protected Areas in northern Tunisia, the Agency for the Protection and Coastal Management (APAL) and WWF Mediterranean Tunis Office in collaboration with the General Directorate for Fisheries and Aquaculture, and the Tunisian Association for the Development of Artisanal Fisheries organized a training workshop in Bizerte, northern Tunisia, from 16 to 17 February 2012, within the framework of the MedPartnership and the activities of MedPAN.
Fifty managers and technicians of the fisheries and marine conservation sectors exchanged views on the concept and principles of sustainable fisheries and the role of Marine Protected Areas in the management of marine resources. The main outcome of the workshop was indeed the importance of dialogue between users of the sea, especially fishermen, during the process of establishing marine protected areas. The discussions also highlighted the lack of legislation in Tunisia in terms of management and control of fishing activities with the need to establish maritime courts and maybe fishery guards to ensure surveillance. Long-term scientific and socio-economic monitoring must also be established to measure trends and the relationship between research, the profession and the administration should be improved.
The ecosystem approach to fisheries cannot be envisaged immediately in Tunisia due to a lack of scientific data, but the involvement of stakeholders in roundtable discussions such as the one held in Bizerte is key towards more sustainable fishing activities.
To facilitate the process, the WWF office in Tunis in collaboration with its partners developed a ruler specifying the sizes of fish allowed to be caught and sold in Tunisia and an identification board for the fish that can be found in northern Tunisian waters.