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Clam harvesting in Tunisia: sustainability risks and SDG opportunities

Journal of Aquaculture & Marine Biology
Abir Gharbi,1 Manel Fatnassi,1 HajerZarrouk,1 Rym Ennouri,Sami Mili1,2


Clam harvesting and export play a pivotal socio-economic role in Tunisia. Clam harvesting, one of the most widespread fishing activities in the country’s southern coastal regions (Sfax, Gabes, and Medenine), is crucial to supporting rural and vulnerable communities in their fight for survival, particularly women clam collectors. These women are in jeopardy due to several issues, such as pollution degrading the environment in the collection regions. The Ministry of Agriculture, Water Resources, and Fisheries, in Resolution No. 3500, dated November 16, 2020, suspended the clam harvesting seasons for three consecutive years (2020–2023). This decision, influenced by environmental, biological, and harvest area health data, was then followed by several national and international initiatives within the context of the blue economy to address these issues in such underdeveloped rural areas. Within this framework, the current project intends to contribute to these efforts by establishing a clam fishery management plan. This strategy can help promote fresh commercial species in great demand in the European and global markets. Additionally, it will strengthen the monitoring and follow-up of various manufacturing and transportation procedures and entice stakeholders to adhere to legal and health requirements. This work also aims to engage women clam collectors on the breadline in supplementary activities to ensure their financial independence and preserve their dignity. It seeks to provide unemployed young men a greater chance of finding employment locally and additional possibilities for making a living.


Sfax area, employability, shellfish production, socio-economy, clam fishery, management plan, women clam collectors, unemployed young men, SDGs