FAO Regional Office for Near East and North Africa

Project Launch Workshop on “Social Protection of Artisanal Fishermen in Tunisia: Towards Better Social Coverage”

FAO supports the improvement of social protection for men and women active in the fishing sector in Tunisia

Tunis 9 March 2023: The social protection of artisanal fishermen in Tunisia: towards better social coverage is the subject of a launch workshop organized under the aegis of Mr. Malek Ezzahi, Minister of Social Affairs and Mr. Abdelmonem Belaâti, Minister of Agriculture, Hydraulic Resources and Fisheries. Its implementation was the subject of a memorandum of understanding signed between the FAO and the Center for Research and Social Studies (CRES) under the Ministry of Social Affairs.

This project, funded by the Norwegian Agency for Development Cooperation (NORAD), is part of a global project relating to the responsible use of fisheries and aquaculture resources for sustainable development. Along with Colombia and Paraguay, Tunisia is a beneficiary of component 4, devoted to social protection for artisanal fishermen and aquaculture.

In its "Report on social protection and fisheries in the Mediterranean region", the GFCM-FAO estimates the number of artisanal fishermen in Tunisia at 35,450, representing around 70% of the workforce in the fishing sector. In his speech, Mr. Philippe Ankers, FAO Coordinator in North Africa and Representative of Tunisia, underlined the diversity of so-called artisanal fishing in Tunisia and its economic and social importance. “This sector highlights local resources, preserves ancestral fishing techniques that are part of the Tunisian cultural heritage, contributes significantly to agricultural exports in Tunisia, but above all, generates income for more than 90% of fishermen in the country.”

Ms. Maha Mezrioui, Director General of CRES, addressed the issue of the resilience of fishing workers by guaranteeing them the right to sustainable social protection and affirmed the commitment of the Ministry of Social Affairs to ensure social protection for all, including those working informally. She said that the ministry has included among its priorities in the development plans, the reform of social assistance programs for the poor and vulnerable categories, as well as the revision of social security systems for greater equity.

The workshop presented the results of an exploratory study in relation to social protection which aims to develop a diagnosis to identify the challenges faced by artisanal fishermen.