EGYPT – Egypt is beefing up its activities in the fishing industry through the expansion of fishing infrastructure in the country, which will cement its title as Africa’s leading supplier of fish.

The country’s government has started the construction works of the fishing port in the city of Rosette, soon to be the first integrated fishing port in the country.

Occupying an area of 4.8 hectares, valued at US$19.4 million, will feature a quay whose capacity is 60 fishing boats per hour and another dedicated to maintenance. The quay will be equipped with a tugboat whose capacity is over 2,000 tons.

The project also includes the construction of 3 factories. The first will be dedicated to the manufacture of ice cubes, the second to the production of fishing nets, and the third will be devoted to the processing and cooling of fish.

This will be an addition to workshops for fishing boat maintenance and storehouses for fishing equipment.

In Egypt, fishing provides only 20% of fish production estimated at more than $1.7 million tonnes per year according to USDA data.

However, North Africa Post reveals that the country’s fishing industry is facing distress due to industrial pollution and climate change. Due to the challenges, the country has turned to fish farming.

Fish farming produces more protein and revenue per acre than crop farming, and with a lower water and carbon emissions footprint per kilo of product, says Ahmed Nasr-Allah, the Egypt country director of WorldFish, an international nonprofit research organization.

Data from the Middle East Institute shows that most fish farms in Egypt are located along the northern edge of the Nile River Delta, centered around four lakes adjacent to the coast — Manzala, Edko, Borul, and Mariut.

The largest and, until recently, most productive is Lake Manzala, in the northeast; but 98% of its water stems from highly polluted drainage canals.

The rise in sea level, paired with increasingly intense floods, poses a major threat to fish farms, which are overwhelmingly located in the low-lying, northern part of the Nile Delta.

Fish farmers in certain areas have found that their average fish production has significantly decreased over recent decades, in part because their fish die before being fully grown.

Consequently, the total volume of fish produced by smallholder fish farms in the wider northeastern region of the Delta has remained about the same over the past seven years (around 1.7 million tons), despite the number of fish grown on each farm having tripled.

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