MaximsNewsNetwork: 12 June 2010 – UNTV: In Tunisia, fishing villages are on the brink of collapse, but local fishermen have some innovative solutions. Marine pollution is a key factor in the fisheries decline.

Longer and more frequent droughts together with declining fisheries have forced many islanders to abandon their homes and migrate to the mainland in search of a better life. In 2009, Tunisia passed a new regulation limiting fishing in the marine protected areas.

SOUNDBITE (Arabic) Hassen Ben Mansour, Fisherman:
“Charfia is a traditional way of fishing, and it’s the best way because it doesn’t harm the sea.”
“Charfia is going to vanish. There is not enough fish to allow us to make a living.”

“In 1986, I used to bring from the charfia 150 to 200 kilos, even 300 kilos per day. But today we got only two and a half to three kilos.”
“The big boats came, and they took every fish with them. Everyone is acting violently towards the sea.”
“When the water gets hot, the fish move away and go to deeper waters.”

SOUNDBITE (French) Hamadi Trabelsi, Meteorologist for the Global Environment Facility’s Small Grants Programme:
“According to the measurement of the Institute of Science and Technology of the Sea, the temperature of sea water in the Gulf of Gabes, including Kerkennah, has risen one degree.”
“In Kerkennah, you will see palm trees and other trees dying because of sea water intrusion.”

SOUNDBITE (French) Najib Mallek, President of the Environmental Commission of the local Lion’s Club:
“A few years ago, the sea was there. There were three beautiful palm trees here. Now they are dead because of the rising sea and erosion.”

SOUNDBITE (Arabic) Hassen’s Father:
“The sea is not what it used to be. Should my sons go begging for money? Or should they get a big boat and go trawling to feed the family?”

SOUNDBITE (French) Habib Ben Moussa, Director at the National Agency for Coastal Management, part of the Ministry of Environment:
“We monitor and we analyze marine water in about seven hundred stations; we conduct thousands of analyses every year. We took all the measures to make sure that not even a drop of untreated water arrives in the Mediterranean Sea. And right now, we are working to put into place a management plan to protect marine and coastal areas. Specifically there is one in the Kerkennah.”

SOUNDBITE (French) Adbelkader Baouendi is the national coordinator of Global Environment Facility’s Small Grants Programme:
“Any fishermen who fish with tools which don’t protect the environment and natural resources will lose their nets. Their nets will remain caught in these blocks.”

SOUNDBITE (Arabic) Hassen Ben Mansour, Fisherman:
“We were happy when it was extended to three months. The sea will get some rest. We need to preserve and take care of the fish eggs.”
“The climate has changed, and the winds too.”

HASSEN: (In Arabic)
“Shlouk is the one that rejuvenates the sea and brings fish from far away. Now the Shlouk is weak and doesn’t get here…

SOUNDBITE (Arabic) Hassen Ben Mansour, Fisherman:
“The climate has changed, and the winds too. We have to protect the region, piece by piece. I don’t say it will succeed in six months or one year, but God willing, it will succeed in two years. I will sacrifice and give everything for it. I will not give it up.”
News Network for the United Nations and the International Community.