OpenIDEO is an open innovation platform. Join our global community to solve big challenges for social good. Sign Up / Login or Learn more

The Treasure Lagoon of Tunis: Yes We Can!

We want to put a "food system" related to the lagoon of Tunis that reach at least 7 of the sustainable development goals

Photo of Asma Ben Abda
7 5

Written by

Lead Applicant Organization Name

The Regional Commissary for Agricultural Develoment of Tunis (CRDA Tunis), Ministry of Agriculture, Water Ressources and Fisheries.

Lead Applicant Organization Type

  • Government

If part of a multi-stakeholder entity (i.e. team), provide the names of other organizations and types of stakeholders collaborating with you.

As I mentioned before, my Organization is govermental regional entity and It is independent. We collaborate with several International, national and local stakeholders : - Researcher Institution : National Institute of Marine sciences and Technologies, National Agronomic Institute of Tunisia (INAT) - Farmer : fisherman - NGO : ATDEPA - Goverment : State of Tunis, DGSV, municipality of La Goulette - International : JICA and FAO - Cooperative « Arous al Bouhayra » - URAP

How long have you / your team been working on this Vision?

  • 1-3 years

Lead Applicant: In what city or town are you located?

La Goulette

Lead Applicant: In what country are you located?


Your Selected Place: what’s the name of the Place you’re developing a Vision for?

« Lac Nord » is a lagoon in Tunis, covers an area of 26 km^2

What country is your selected Place located in?


Describe your relationship to the place you’ve selected.

I am an agricultural engineer (resource exploitation) and the head of fisheries and aquacuture department I manage the lagoon :   it is under my responsibility.

The Lagoon is very particular, It is hosting many lots of theme:

- Ecological Importance: Wetlands (Ramsar area since 2013) and in the middle of the lagoon there are a small island "Chikly Island" protected area (natural reserve since 1993)

-Cultural Importance:  the Chikly Island houses Fort Santiago (a national cultural heritage asset in December 1993), sports activities (rowing), tourism activities

- Nutritional importance: due to fishing activities the lagoon provides high value fishery product (Eels, Clam, Noble fish...) anf feed thousands of people

-Social and Economic Importance: the fishery sector in the lagoon ensures employment : direct job (fishermen) indirect ( processing, transport, trade, fishing gears confection...)

- scientific reaserch: the lagoon offers many lines of reaserch: hydrology,  fish stock assessment, ecology of the Eel wich is a mysterious spieces, interaction after invasion of new spieces (climate change)

and the most imoprting thing is that the lagoon produce the eel fish it's CITES Spieces: 

CITES (the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora) is an international agreement between governments. Its aim is to ensure that international trade in specimens of wild animals and plants does not threaten their survival.

 Because the trade in wild animals and plants crosses borders between countries, the effort to regulate it requires international cooperation to safeguard certain species from over-exploitation. CITES was conceived in the spirit of such cooperation. Today, it accords varying degrees of protection to more than 37,000 species of animals and plants, whether they are traded as live specimens, fur coats or dried herbs

Describe the People and Place: Provide information that would be helpful for an outsider who has never been there and may have no context about this Place to better understand the area.

the Lake of Tunis  is a natural lagoon located between the Tunisian capital city of Tunis and the Gulf of Tunis (Mediterranean Sea).  It was once the natural harbour of Tunis.

The lake offers great possibilities for fishing because the high salinity of its waters has made plankton nourishing shellfish and fish thrive in large quantities. Fisheries therefore exist at the end of the lake to trap the fish when it leaves the latter in order to spawn at sea. In addition, the lake hosts large colonies of birds, in particular flamingos stationed around the islet of Chikly which shelters an old Spanish fort and which constitutes today a natural reserve. The hydrographic complex formed by the lake was designated a Ramsar site on January 23, 2013.
Faced with the continuous expansion of the Tunis agglomeration, faced with environmental problems and following the stagnation of the port of Tunis, a major development project for Lake Tunis was born in order to create a new urban space and begins to materialize in the 1980s. Part of the lake is gradually backfilled to the north and a new city begins to be born bearing the name of "Berges du Lac" or more simply the Arabic name of the lake (El Bouhaïra). Located near the main communication axes (RN9 between Tunis and La Marsa), a few kilometers from the Tunis-Carthage international airport, it hosts leisure spaces, high-end residences and corporate headquarters of the service sector or even embassies and thus constitutes a new urban center

What is the estimated population (current 2020) in your Place?


Challenges: Describe the current (2020) and the future (2050) challenges that your food system faces.

1-Environment :

The biodiversity of the lagoon is facing Overfishing and  Illegal, unreported, and unregulated (IUU) fishing  threatens the sustainability of fish populations, ecosystems, and the livelihoods of those who fish legally. It may permanently damage delicate lagoon  habitats, which can have long-lasting impacts on other marine life and surrounding fishing communities.

As a consequence of climate change we noted the appearance of an invasive crab species from the Atlantic ocean blue crab (Callinectes sapidus) who changes the lagoon biodiversity by competition with local species and we note that fishermen are not happy about the newly present crustaceans.

2- Diets

Our « food system » wil produce sea food product to feed local, regional, national and international people ; the main catches of the lagoon are :

The eel fish wish is requested by local communitie, some tunisian region like Sfax (southern Tunisia) and exported alive  to Italy and asian countries (specially South Korea)

Clam (shellfish) very appreciated by tunisan and tourists consumers it drains restaurabts and hotel in all the country.

Noble fish 90% exported for southern european countries

So we can say thant our food system will feed thousands of people around the world.

The seafood is a staple of Tunisian dishes, it’s the main source of animal proteins  specially for coastal town and villages, the lagoon offer seafood (animal proteins) for poor poeple living in the suburbs of the capital.

3- Economics

Inthe current situation,  economic activity is based on :

Fishing and (or) collecting seafood (ell, fish, shellfish)direct sale of the product in local markets or restaurants export of the product by through intermediaries so we note some challenges :

the limited period of the fishing activities (from otober to March every year) and outside this period the fishermen are jobless.

intermediaries take advantage of fishermen : they buy fishermen's products at very low prices and in the next step they sell (or export) the same commodity at multiple prices !

4- Culture

We habe two challenges :

Protect the artisanal gears of fishing in the lagoon ; they use « capétchade » a very ancestral technique, does not harm the ecosystem, unfortunately nowadays fishermen tray to swich some natural and traditional gears by artificial and synthetic element.

Preserve local culinary tradition based on local fresh fish and olive oil but now we change fresh fish by canned fish and foreign ingredients


Technologically we have these challenges :

The Lacke of new tehnologies in the seafood processing specially for the eels (very primitive and ineffective techniques for handling products)

Ignorance of new tools of marketing : internet, e : commerce application…  

6- policy :Many govermental entities are involved in our « food system » :

The Challenges are :

the large number of stakeholders who can hinder the progress of our « food system »

many activities in the lagoon : fishing, sports, culture, tourism so we have conflict of interest.

Address the Challenges: Describe how your Vision will address the challenges described in the previous question.

my vision :

-End poverty of the fishermen's families: ensure that all men and women, in particular the poor and the vulnerable, have equal rights to economic resources, as well as access to basic services, ownership and control over land and other forms of property, inheritance, natural resources and Create sound policy frameworks at the national, regional and local levels, based on pro-poor and gender-sensitive development strategies, to support accelerated investment in poverty eradication actions.

-End hunger, achieve food security and improved nutrition and promote sustainable fishing and aquaculture: double the fishing productivity and incomes of small-scale fish producers, in particular women, indigenous peoples, family fishermen, other productive resources and inputs, knowledge, financial services, markets and opportunities for value addition and  ensure sustainable food production systems and implement resilient aquaculture  practices that increase productivity and production, that help maintain ecosystems, that strengthen capacity for adaptation to climate change.

-Conserve and sustainably use the lagoon resources for sustainable development : sustainably manage and protect lagoon ecosystems to avoid significant adverse impacts, including by strengthening their resilience, and take action for their restoration in order to achieve healthy and productive oceans, then  effectively regulate harvesting and end overfishing, illegal, unreported and unregulated fishing a practices and implement science-based management plans, in order to restore fish stocks (specially clams) in the shortest time feasible, at least to levels that can produce maximum sustainable yield as determined by their biological characteristics anf finnaly provide access for small-scale artisanal fishers to marine resources and markets.

-Ensure sustainable consumption and production :achieve the sustainable management and efficient use of natural resources and Develop and implement tools to monitor sustainable development impacts for sustainable tourism that creates jobs and promotes local culture and products

-Achieve gender equality : by capacity building of women who collecte clams in the lagoon.

High Level Vision: With these challenges addressed, now provide a high level description of how the Place and the lives of its People will be different than they are now.

- no jobless

-no famine and hunger

-decent income

-competetive product

-independant women

-sustainable fishing activity for future generation

-well-being of the fishermen's family

-no conflict of Interest

- the farmers (fishermen ) are open to the word by the new technologies

-the good mastery of new spieces invasion (capture, processing, marketing)

-adaptation with climate change

Full Vision: How do you describe your Vision for a regenerative and nourishing food future for your Place and People for 2050?

1-Environment :

face to the environmental challenges, I have considered measures of mitigation and adaption  in my « food system » : 1st for the Overfishing we are traying to limit the fishing effort (nomber of vessel, gears of fishing and the defining the period of fishing) refering to scientific research. Then for the 2nd challenge (IUU fishing) we just created a local committee (composed by involved stakeholders) to control the application of the law in the lagoon.  The 3rd challenge (invasion of blue crab) we will assist the fishermen by offering subsidies to help purchase their catch  

2- Diets:

In our « food system » we are considering :

  • enhancing the traditions and gastronomic heritage of the regions
  • Assistance offered to fisherman  for traceability, quality, respect for the environment   

3- Economics:

To solve economics problems, our food system will offer the following ideas :

  • involve alternative activities during the period of cessation of fishing to diversify the sources of income of fishermen like aquapony, aquaculture and pescatourism
  • promote the value chaine
  • giving to the lagoon product a label « Chikly Fish »
  • The creation of a short and integrated supply and consumption chain bringing artisanal fishermen and restaurants into direct contact, guaranteed by the « Chikly Fish » label
  • Promotion and marketing of the activities of  lagoon’s fishermen  through promotion and marketing actions on the national and international markets (independence of intermediaries and get the most out of income)                                                                    

    4- Culture:

    Our « food system » try to preserve the artisanal value chain by :

    • Giving special subsidy for using artisanal fishing gears
    • Labeling our product and dishes
    • Valorization of our artisanal product by inventing standard artisanal product like combining olive oil, local seed and local fish
  • 5-Technology: 

In our « food system » we are thinking to :

  • Help them to adopt the new technologies of seafood processing
  • Create a website and an application to sell the product                                             
  • Offer computer and help them to use emails and other contact application to exchange knowledge with other colleagues from all the world.                                            

    6- policy:

    So the  vision in our « food system » is based on :

    • Co-management of the lagoon  between the stakeholders
    • The good governance
    • support local governance
    • use the principe of  the ICZM (Integrated coastal zone management) and the participatory approach

How did you hear about the Food System Vision Prize?

  • Website


Join the conversation:

Photo of Archiebold Manasseh

Good project! all the best

View all comments