MED4EBM in Tunisia highlights the economic potential of blue crabs but warns about the environmental aspects too

MED4EBM Tunisian partner, the National Institute of Marine Science and Technology (INSTM), has spearheaded an awareness-raising event aimed at unveiling the untapped economic potential of the blue crab. Titled "Blue Crab: A New Economic Resource - Exploitation, Valorisation, and Sustainability," the event took place on May 25th, 2023, in the scenic Ghraiba Delegation, Sfax-Tunisia. 

The invasive blue swimming crab, scientifically known as Portunis segnis, has long been a menacing predator wreaking havoc on delicate marine ecosystems, damaging fishermen's nets, and decimating their catches. However, Tunisia has taken a proactive stance by transforming this problem into a promising opportunity through targeted investments and dedicated projects.

The blue crab has emerged as a beacon of hope, providing a fresh source of income for affected fishermen's families. Since 2019, the Kneiss Islands region has witnessed the establishment of processing and marketing factories specifically catering to Asian, European, and American markets. This strategic move has fueled impressive economic growth and progress in the area.

Despite the positive outcomes, it is imperative to implement measures to control the exploitation of this valuable resource. A recent study has revealed a concerning decline in blue crab biomass, necessitating urgent action. To address this concern and create widespread awareness, the event aimed to enlighten fishermen and potential investors in the Kneiss Islands area on key issues such as marine biodiversity and ecosystem conservation, sustainable approaches to blue crab exploitation, the importance of maintaining product quality, and the impact of static fishing gear on marine populations and ecosystems.

With significant commercial interest surrounding this sector, stakeholders and participants eagerly gathered at the event seeking insights and solutions to ensure the long-term sustainability and prosperity of blue crab exploitation. By fostering dialogue and sharing expertise, Tunisia's INSTM aims to forge a harmonious balance between economic growth and environmental preservation, paving the way for a brighter future for both fishermen and marine ecosystems alike.

Stay tuned for further updates on the remarkable journey of Tunisia's blue crab as it continues to captivate the world with its potential for economic transformation and ecological conservation.