The coasts of Tunisia jut out into the Mediterranean and resemble the profile of a human face. Zarzis has a numerous and active fishermen’s community. The few miles of sea between Sicily and Zarzis are a cooperation and friendship bridge, in support of more vulnerable social groups and of new and true opportunities for development in the area.
Within the frame of NEMO project, CIHEAM Bari, the Tunisian authorities and the representatives of the local community have already completed numerous actions for stability and economic growth. The multifunctional centre of Medenine – more than 600 m2 wide – was restored and inaugurated to host a multimedia museum on traditional fishery, a meeting room for training, and a restaurant where visitors can taste typical products of the region.
An allocation of 250,000 euro was committed for micro-credit in favour of both small-scale fishermen and women active in clam harvesting and the fishermen’s associations they belong to. More than 130 projects are under evaluation and approval. Thirty per cent of funding will be used to sustain the growth of women’s entrepreneurship in weaving and spinning of fishing nets and in fishery-related activities. The new small harbour of Djaria was designed, and labelling of the catch from Biben lagoon and other areas of Medenine Governorate is being performed to enhance typical fish products of the region.
Faced with poverty, migration and conflicts, we cannot simply be afloat. Italy is cooperating with Tunisian authorities and together with the other coastal communities, to defend the human person, to improve the quality of life, to support poorer groups of society and create a genuine prospect of peace in the Mediterranean. Our target is to give a hand and make friends all these ecosystem of small-scale fishing and reduce the conflict between stakeholders.