The Tunisian Government has stepped in to protect and expand the country's fishing industry. On?
GV Fishing boats along dockside
SV & CU Smaller fishing boats being prepared (4 shots)
TRAVEL SHOT. Boat puts to sea (3 shots)
Initials SGM/1232 SGM/1242
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Background: The Tunisian Government has stepped in to protect and expand the country's fishing industry. On 19 July, Tunisia's territorial waters were extended from six to 12 miles (nine to 19 km) -- a move first suggested two years ago.
The extension is not expected to cause concern among Tunisia's Mediterranean neighbours. Morocco recently extended its territorial waters from 12 to 70 miles (19 to 112 km), an action which sparked off the so-called "sardine war" with Spain.
The port of Sfax is the centre of Tunisia's expanding fishing industry, which now lands 34,000 tons a year (Ten year ago the annual catch was only half that figure). However, there is still room for further expansion in the tunny and sardine-rich Mediterranean and at present Tunisia is unable to keep pace with overseas demand for its seafood and shellfish.
The International Development Association recently provided more than 750,000 sterling (2 million US dollars) to help motorise the Tunisian fishing fleet, which until now has comprised mainly sailing boats. Three hundred new boats have been ordered form Spain, and some have already been delivered.
As another attempt to expand the industry, last year Tunisia and Libya signed an agreement to form a joint fishing company.