Aquaculture: Tunisia is capable of doubling its production in the next two years – Tunisia has set its sights on doubling its aquaculture production in the next two years, according to Nourredine Ben Ayed, the president of the Tunisian Union of Agriculture and Fishing (UTAP). Speaking at a national conference organized by the UTAP to discuss the state of the country’s aquaculture industry, Ben Ayed emphasized the importance of overcoming the obstacles that have hindered the sector’s development, particularly the rising cost of production.
Currently, the aquaculture industry in Tunisia produces an estimated 26,000 tonnes of fish and seafood each year.
While this figure is already significant, the country has the potential to significantly increase its output, particularly given the high demand for fish and seafood across North Africa and the Middle East.
One of the main challenges facing the sector is the cost of production. Naoufel Romdhane, the under-director of aquaculture at the Ministry of Agriculture, Hydraulic Resources, and Fisheries‘ Directorate General of Fisheries, notes that investment in the industry is currently “heavy,” which is impacting the profitability of the sector. Romdhane cites fish farming as an example of an activity that is particularly expensive. This sub-sector represents almost 90% of total aquaculture activity in Tunisia but is heavily reliant on imports of fingerlings and fish feed, which account for more than 90% of production costs.
To address these challenges and support the development of the industry, the Ministry of Agriculture has developed a strategy aimed at ensuring the sustainability of the aquaculture sector by 2030. This strategy includes a range of measures to improve the governance of the sector and revise the regulatory framework in line with industry developments. One of the key measures is to provide financial and fiscal incentives to fish feed production units that rely on imports of raw materials.
By supporting local fish feed production, the Ministry hopes to reduce the cost of production for fish farmers, boosting the profitability of the sector as a whole. The strategy also aims to encourage the use of locally produced inputs, such as algae-based feeds and breeding stock, which could help to reduce the industry’s dependence on expensive imports.
If successful, the Ministry’s strategy could increase Tunisia’s annual aquaculture production to 56,000 tonnes, providing a significant boost to the country’s food security and economy.
In addition to supporting local production, the strategy also aims to promote exports of Tunisian fish and seafood, which could help to increase foreign exchange earnings and create new job opportunities in the sector.
Overall, Tunisia’s aquaculture industry has significant potential for growth, but to achieve this, the country will need to overcome a range of challenges, including the high cost of production and dependence on imports. The Ministry’s strategy represents an important step towards realizing this potential and establishing Tunisia as a key player in the regional aquaculture industry.
Aquaculture: Tunisia is capable of doubling its production in the next two years