Tunisia promotes sustainable fisheries with deployment of satellite monitoring system

TUNISIA – Tunisia has deployed a satellite monitoring system of fishing vessels, in a bid to optimise the safety of fishermen and their vessels and combat illegal fishing which threatens seafood wealth and the sustainability of the sector.

The system is based on three complementary components, namely a central computer system at the Ministry of Agriculture, 50 central and local control rooms and terminals ensuring the transmission of data relating to the location and activities of vessels while guaranteeing confidentiality.

It will also provide a database for scientific research programmes on monitoring the exploitation of fishing sites.

The terminals will be installed in 874 vessels (that is 6.72% of the fleet), reports Tunis Afrique Presse.

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The Ministry is working to set up a computer system dedicated to sea fishing and aquaculture to ensure better services for fishermen and equipment manufacturers and streamline human and financial resources.

Tunisia has embarked on use of satellite monitoring system at a time that the number of stocks subject to overfishing in the Mediterranean and Black Sea have declined for the first time in decades.

According to a new report on the State of Mediterranean and Black Sea Fisheries (SoMFi 2020) released mid-December, published by the General Fisheries Commission for the Mediterranean (GFCM) – a FAO statutory body, it has indicated that 75 percent of fish stocks remain subject to overfishing, this percentage fell by more than 10 percent between 2014 and 2018. 

Exploitation ratios are down by a similar proportion. Taking into account newly assessed stocks, the number of fish stocks with high relative biomass has doubled since the last edition published in 2018.

The annual economic value of Mediterranean and Black Sea fisheries is US$ 9.4 billion

State of Mediterranean and Black Sea Fisheries 2020

“Sustainable management does not just benefit the fish stocks”, said Islem Ben Ayed, President of the Tunisian Association for the Development of Artisanal Fisheries.

“The sustainability of Mediterranean and Black Sea fisheries means sustaining jobs, ensuring healthy food and maintaining cultural heritage in our coastal communities for generations to come,” he said.

The report further estimates the overall annual economic value of Mediterranean and Black Sea fisheries is US$ 9.4 billion, and that the industry provides some 225,000 onboard jobs.

Turkey, Italy, Greece, Spain, Algeria and Tunisia account for 83% of the total revenue in the region while Turkey, Tunisia, Algeria, Italy, Greece and Egypt account for approximately 82% of total employment.

The report also offered valuable insights into the state of current workforce in fisheries in the region. The sector is rapidly aging: almost half of workers are over 40 and only 17 percent are under 25 – a situation requiring proactive measures in order to ensure that a skilled workforce remains available.

In addition, the report highlights that building the resilience of fisheries will be evermore critical in the face of increasing pressure on the marine environment from climate change and human activities.

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