October 2003


There are many unofficial landing sites in addition to the various legal sites for the various Egyptian fisheries (Figure 1).

Landing site Catch (tonne) % Area %
 Mersa Matruh (and Salum) 379 0.0884 Mediterranean 13.9097
Alex (AlMax, AlAnfoushy &Mena Sharki) 4560 1.0638
Abu Qir 672 0.1568
Meadea 12154 2.8354
Rashid 5000 1.1665
Borge AlBurollus  1517 0.3539
AlBorge 17900 4.1759
Port Said 13400 3.1261
ElArish 4042 0.943
Ataka (Suez Gulf    +          Red Sea +                              out side of Egyptian territorial) 19763 4.6105 Red Sea 17.1582
691 0.1612
6922 1.6148
AlSalakhana 7450 1.738
Tour 4953 1.1555
Sharm AlSheakh 103 0.024
Dahab 122 0.0285
Noubea 155 0.0362
Ghareb 43 0.01
Hurgada (Red Sea +            out side of Egyptian territorial) 12603 2.9402
3646 0.8506
Safaga 700 0.1633
Qusear 2150 0.5016
Baranees (Red Sea +            out side of Egyptian territorial) 7315 1.7065
5354 1.249
Abu Ramad 407 0.0949
Shalateen 1172 0.2734
Behara (Rashid + others) 2288 0.5338 Nile River 25.6355
Desouq 6300 1.4697
AlQanater 4691 1.0944
Banha 4562 1.0643
Menouf 19439 4.5349
Kafr AlZiat 8591 2.0042
Dumyat 811 0.1892
AlMansoura 7070 1.6494
AlZaqazeq 5959 1.3902
Traet AlSalam 398 0.0928
Ismalia 2553 0.5956
Cairo 3888 0.907
AlGeza 6247 1.4574
BenSoef 5140 1.1991
Fayoum 447 0.1043
AlMenia 8366 1.9517
Asyout 6544 1.5266
Sohag 5266 1.2285
Qena 6461 1.5073
Aswan 4866 1.1352
Maruit lake 6200 1.4464 Lakes 43.2965
Lake Edku 10910 2.5452
Lake Burollus (Baltim+ SidiSalam) 59200 13.811
Lake Manzala (Mataria +        Gheat AlNasara +             Qapouti) 60016 14.001
6239 1.4555
2145 0.5004
Lake Port Fouad 162 0.0378
Lake Bardawil 3146 0.7339
Lake Qarun 1396 0.3257
Wadi AlRaiyan Lakes (Lake+                 Lake 3) 641 0.1495
220 0.0513
Timsah and Bitter Lakes 5444 1.27
Lake Nasser 28153 6.5678
Western Desert (Tosheka +       AlWadi AlGadead) 1519 0.3544
200 0.0467
Total 428651 100 100

Along the Mediterranean Coast, the official landing sites are – from west to east – are: Salum and Mersa Matruh (Matruh province); Al Max, Al Anfoushy, Mena Sharki and Abu Qir (Alexandria province); Meadea and Rashid (Behera province); Borge and Al Burollus (Kafr Al Sheakh province); Al Borge (Dumyat province); Port Said (Port Said province); and El Arish (North Sinai province). 

Along the Red Sea Coast; the official landing sites – from north to south – are: Ataka and Al Salakhana (Suez province); Tour, Sharm Al Sheakh, Dahab and Noubea (South Sinai province); Ghareb, Hurgada, Safaga, Qusear, Baranees, Abu Ramad and Shalateen (Red Sea province).

In inland waters, there are more 300 official landing sites, with a huge number of casual sites. The main landing site correspond to the largest cities. Along the Nile River are: Rashid, Desouq, Al Qanater, Dumyat, Al Mansoura, Al Zaqazeq, Cairo, BenSoef, Asuot and Aswan (in Lake Nasser). In the lakes there are: Al Max in Maruit Lake; Meadea in Lake Edku; Baltim and Sids Salem in Lake Burollus; Mataria, Kheat Al NAsara and Qapouti in Lake Manzala; Port Fouad in Lake Port Fouad; Teloul in Lake Bardawil; Shakshouk in Lake Qarun; Baqarat and Shallal in Wadi Al Raiyan Lakes; and Ismalia in Timsah and Bitter Lakes. 

Map of Egypt showing fishing grounds


The General Authority for Fish Resources Development (GAFRD) (Ministry of Agriculture) is the state agency responsible managing and controlling Egyptian fisheries.

Three central offices, for the western coastal provinces, Dumyat region and Delta provinces, are part of the headquarter complex in Cairo, with another general office for the eastern provinces and three local offices for Nile provinces, Aswan region and Red Sea province.

These local offices are responsible for issuing fishing vessel and fishermen licences, collecting catch statistics data, controlling aquaculture activities, managing and developing the inland water bodies, and appling the fisheries law with the support of the coast guard for marine fisheries and water bodies police in the inland fisheries.

The headquarters office is responsible for development projects, applied research, national and international agreements, and maintenance activities.


Political and economic decision-makers are becoming increasingly aware of the fundamental economic role that fisheries and related activities play in Egypt. The next ten-year plan has a number of fisheries-related elements.

The main goal of the government is to increase the catch to reach 1 362 000 tonnes in 2012.

Encourage fisheries products exports and increase domestic consumption of fishery products.

Enlarge and modernize offshore fishing in the Egyptian EEZ and international waters.

Pay greater attention to development of the northern lakes through a special committee for each lake comprising various stakeholders and representatives of government agencies. The committes willl be responsible for carrying out periodical clearing of lagoon inlets to prevent silting, controlling vegetation growth and opening deep channels crossing the water bodies.

Develop and enhance the Western Desert water bodies.

Introduce new technology and support innovation in commercial activities.

Promote the assimilation of scientific and technical knowledge for the sustainable development of fisheries.

Promote and enhance the environmental, economic and social integration of fisheries sectors.

Development policy considerations

The development of artisanal fisheries can be supported on fishing grounds which cannot be trawled, as is the case in many areas in the coastal zone of the western Mediterranean Coast and Red Sea. Artisanal fishing is labour-intensive, using selective gear such as trammel or gillnets and longlines, and makes better use of available resources, especially in multispecies fiaheries.

Develop the fishing fleet by providing, through fisheries cooperatives, soft loans to renew the high seas fishing fleet.

Some fishing gear can damage the seabed, e.g. bottom trawl, beach seine and purse seine operating in daytime near the shore, and benthic communities, including seagrass beds, rocky and coral bottom ecosystem, making it difficult for species to re-establish. It is advisable to protect inshore nursery areas from pollution and fishing through seasonal closures at the period of juvenile recruitment of the most important species.

Protect juveniles through the establishment of particular measures for fishing gear characteristics and their use (minimum mesh size, fishing gear size and shape, fishing gear selectivity, etc.) and by setting minimum capture size for each single species.

Retraining, upgrading and enhancing the Coast Guard, Navy and National Police to provide adequate tactical strength and fishery law enforcement.


Stock assessment studies have been performed for some economically important fish species, and show a generally overfished situation for most of the species studied.

Biomass of Sardinella aurita, Sardina pilchardus and Sardinalla maderensis off Alexandria city on the Mediterranean Sea Coast were, using the virtual population analysis method, estimated to be 3415.82, 3768.11 and 330.31 tonnes, respectively, during 1998 (Abdallah and El-Haweet, 2000). Many studies have been conducted for Red Sea Fisheries. After study and estimation of the Maximum Sustainable Yields (MSY) for different fishing gears in the Suez Gulf, it is concluded that the optimum effort should be reduced to 142, 43 and 21 units for line, trawling and purse seines, respectively (Azab, El Hakim and Younis, 1998). Fishing boats working the coral reef fish stocks in the Suez Gulf were found to be taking more than the MSY and it was recommended to reduce the number of fishing boats by 41% (Mehanna, 1999). The giant clam stock of the Red Sea was underexploited but as fishing effort is increasing it is feared that the fishery could easily collapse (Kilada and El Ganainy, 1999).

Oreochromis niloticus stock of the River Nile in the Cairo Sector has been studied and it was recommended that no additional fishery licences should be issued beyond the current level of effort (1 800 boats), and that the trammel net minimum mesh size be fixed at 7 cm (Tharwat, El Nady and Kamer, 1997).

In Lake Nassar, Oereochromis niloticus and Sarotherodon galilaeus are overexploited; the exploitation rate was about 0.8 for both species. Their biomass was estimated at 27 901 and 4 598 tonne, respectively. The long-term effects of reducing fishing mortality by 10 percent would increase the catch of O. niloticus by about 65% and that of S. galilaeus by 7% (Khalifa, Agaypi and Adam, 2000).

For Lake Manzala, the stocks of the four tilapia species were overexploited in most regions of the lake and moderate in others. The stock of tilapia was estimated at 88 875.2 tonne (Hussein, 1994).

In Wadi Al Raiyan Lakes, to achieve the MSY of 548.5 tonne in the first lake, the present level of fishing effort must be reduced by about 56.4 percent. For the second lake, the present level of fishing effort should be reduced by about 50.9 percent to obtain the MSY (135.3 tonne) (Ibrahim, 2002).

In Bardawil lagoon, it was recommended to reduce the fishing effort by about 22 percent to reach the MSY (2 252 tonne) (Breikaa, 1997).

For the Egyptian Mediterranean Coast fisheries management, the National Institute of Oceanography and Fisheries (NIOF), Alexandria branch, recommended:

A moratorium on new vessel licensing for any fishing ground for five years.

Prohibiting fishing closer than 1 km from the shore using any fishing method.

Prohibiting fishing of fry from the estuarine area for at least 2 km offshore.

Instuting a closed season in May–June for fishing by trawl, purse seine and trammel net.

Encourage fishing in deeper water (>100 m) and in the western and eastern regions of the Nile Delta (e.g. Saloum Bay and Sahal El Tina).

Setting the minimum mesh size of bottom trawl cod ends at 40 mm, of purse seines at 38 mm, of trammel net at 63 mm and of gill net at 125 mm.

However, reducing overall fishing effort, particularly in inshore waters, remains the main priority for management action.


Traditionally, fishery management has involved technical measures applied to protect juveniles or the spawning season of important fishes. In general, fisheries management in marine waters is relatively undeveloped. Better arrangement are needed for fisheries and capture, implying a re-assessment of fishing and fleet licences. Mesh size regulations are usually set at low levels relative to scientific advice, and little effort limitation is apparent.

Decree No. 124/83 of the Parliament arranges and manages the fisheries resources in Egypt. The decree describes technical measures like mesh size for different fishing methods, and minimum sizes for target species, especially for inland fisheries. Subsequently, there have been some recent decrees from the national authority for management measures, including:

Seasonal prohibition of fishing activities through a closed season from May to September has been applied successfully in the Suez Gulf since 1980, and in Qarun and Al Raiyan lakes since the late 1990s.

During 1999, a closed season for trawlers in the Mediterranean Coast was applied for two months (May and June), but for political reasons could not apply for more than one year.

Limitation of fishing effort is applied in most of the marine fisheries; no licences are being issued for new boats except for those operating outside Egyptian territorial fisheries.

A complete ban on drifting gill net fisheries applies in all inland fisheries.


The Egyptian demand for fish in 2012 is forecast to reach 1 362 000 tonnes, and this amount is far from the present production level of 772 000 tonnes. Government policy aims to bridge this gap through managing the natural fisheries and developing aquaculture activities.

Information Sources

Abdallah, M. & El-Haweet, A. E.  2000.  Stock assessment of sardine in the Egyptian Mediterranean waters by virtual population analysis: case for the coast from Alexandria to Abu-Qir. Egypt. J. Aquat. Biol. & Fish., 4(3): 173–191.

Azab, A.M., El Hakim, N.F.A. & Younis, T.M.  1998.  Studies on the fisheries of the Suez Gulf, Red Sea, Egypt. Egypt. J. Aquat. Biol. & Fish., 2(4): 505–525.

Breikaa, M.I.  1997.  Fisheries management studies on the Bardawil Lagoon, Northern Sinai, Egypt. Egypt. J. Aquat. Biol. & Fish., 1(2): 291–307.

GAFRD [General Authority for Fish Resources Development].  1995–2001. Annual fishery statistics reports. General Authority for Fish Resources Development, Cairo.

Hussein, K.A.  1994.  Open water fisheries development in Lake Manzallah. National Institute of Oceanography and Fisheries.

Ibrahim, E.A.  2002.  Food production from freshwater ecosystem project. USAID report.

Khalifa, U.S., Agaypi, M.Z. & Adam, H.A.  2000.  Population dynamics of Oreochromis niloticus L. and Sarotherodon galilaeus Art. pp. 87–90, in: Sustainable Fish Production in Lake Nasser: Ecological Basis and Management Policy. Aswan, Egypt: ICLARM.

Kilada, R. & El Ganainy, A.  1999.  Stock assessment of the giant clam (Tridacna maxima) in the Egyptian Red Sea. Egypt. J. Aquat. Biol. & Fish., 3(4): 145–156.

Mehanna, S.F.  1999.  An assessment and management of the coral reef fish stocks in the Gulf of Suez. Egypt. J. Aquat. Biol. & Fish., 3(2): 103–114.

Tharwat, A.A., El Nady, M.A. & Kamer, G.A.  1997.  Fish stock assessment of Oreochromis niloticus (L) from the River Nile at Cairo Sector. Egypt. J. Aquat. Biol. & Fish., 1(1): 67–81.