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November 12, 2018

[Training Report] The Knowledge Co-Creation Program(Country Focus) "Capacity Building for Stakeholders of Fisheries and Aquaculture Sector in Tunisia" - Asari clam research training (Kumamoto Prefecture), ship inspections (Fukushima Prefecture)

Following on from last year, JICA Yokohama invited, as JICA participants, 12 administrative officials, researchers and members concerned with the fisheries industry from Tunisia and visited Kumamoto Prefecture and Fukushima Prefecture for the "Capacity Building for Stakeholders of Fisheries and Aquaculture Sector in Tunisia (second year)" study tour.

Fish and shellfish that are common in Japan, such as octopus, cuttlefish, Japanese spiny lobster and asari clams are eaten in Tunisia. However, in recent years, the volume of fish catches is decreasing due to overfishing of marine resources and illegal fishing, so those concerned with Japanese fishing industry are currently working on managing coastal marine resources and improving added value through efforts to "reduce the amount of catches and sell the fish and shellfish at higher prices." For this training, the participants held lectures at JICA Yokohama Center and visited Kumamoto Prefecture and Fukushima Prefecture to learn about the various efforts for the sustainable use of marine resources through prefectural management policies and study cases by exchanging opinions with the local fishery associations and actual fishermen.

Asari clam research training at the tidelands at the Ariake Sea (Kumamoto Prefecture)

PhotoTogether with the asari research lecturers.

Ariake Sea is known as one of Japan's top production areas of asari clams, and from early 1970s, Kumamoto Prefecture accounted for 40% of the catch volume in Japan. However, from the 1990s, the amount of the catch volume asari clams has significantly decreased, and currently the prefectural government, research institutes and fishermen are working together in their efforts to restore clam resources. Asari clams are used as an important resource at the Gulf of Gabès in southern Tunisia but depending on the region they are struggling with the problem of the reduced amount of resources to the brink of extinction, and the participants learned about the efforts to restore asari clam resources at the Ariake Sea and aimed at learning techniques that could be applied in Tunisia.

PhotoThe participants receiving explanations from the lecturers about the condition of the tidelands.

On the day of the training, they visited during the low tides of the spring tide where vast tidelands appear, to study about the survey work conducted for the restoration of asari clam resources. Although the seafloor environments of Ariake Sea and the Gulf of Gabès vary significantly depending on each of the sea areas, but the participants learned from the lecturers that it was important to first identify the causes of the reduced production and then select the appropriate technology before demonstrating the measures and effects.

The participants expressed their sentiments, stating that they wished to emulate the efforts of the parties concerned who continue to try out various approaches and repeating failed attempts until they succeeded, and that they wanted to tirelessly continue their efforts to restore asari clam resources at the Gulf of Gabès.

Embarkation inspections and exchanges with self-made dried fish (Fukushima Prefecture)

PhotoTogether with the fishermen.

Fukushima Prefecture's fishing industry suffered extensive damage from the tsunami and nuclear power plant accident caused by the Great East Japan Earthquake. Later, through the collected efforts of the administrative research institutes comprised primarily of local fishermen, the fishing industry has been restored close to the level that it was prior to the earthquake.

PhotoAdding bait to the octopus cages

During this training, a two-day embarkation inspection was implemented due to the cooperation of the fishermen from the town of Namie in Fukushima Prefecture (Soma Futaba Fisheries Cooperative Association Ukedo Branch Youth Group.) The inspection was implemented with the aim of studying various fishing technologies, including the octopus basket fishing method and gillnetting, and to obtain hands-on knowledge of the Japanese coastal fishing industry through explanations of different fishing boat equipment and fishing gear. Through this embarkation inspection, the participants expressed their admiration at the discussions between all parties in order to follow the fishing rules and the strong sense of solidarity between the Japanese fishermen to work together and observe the rules properly and stated that they were able to recognize the important aspects of joint resource management.

PhotoEveryone enjoyed the dried mackerel made by the participants during the fish processing demonstration.

After the training, a barbecue was held together with the fishermen who provided their support for the previous two days, as well as members of the prefectural office and town hall that also lent their cooperation. At the barbecue, the participants grilled the dried mackerel that they made themselves during the fish processing demonstration held at the Yokohama Central Wholesale Market and shared them with the rest of the group. The participants also exchanged opinions with the fishermen, who were normally very serious when on their ships but appearing very relaxed at the get-together following the barbecue, and it was a very wonderful time for both sides.

Mr. Rafik, who served as the leader of the training team commented, "In Tunisia, the fishing industry is administered with a ‘top-down' method in which the fishermen observe the rules and regulations established by the national or prefectural government offices. However, through the efforts of Japanese experts and our training in Japan, we have seen the ‘bottom-up' method used in Japan, where the fishermen themselves set the rules and they work together to observe them, has been incorporated in addition to the conventional ‘top-down' method. This training has really helped us understand how the management methods function in Japan."

It is expected that these training results would contribute to Tunisia's fisheries industry.

(Article production cooperation) Overseas Agri-FIsheries Consultants Co. Ltd., General Incorporated Association Marino-Forum 21

Contribution to the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs)


The Sustainable Development Goals are a set of detailed action guidelines that were adopted by the United Nations General Assembly in September 2015. The SDGs are outlined in an outcome document titled "Transforming our World: The 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development". The agenda includes 169 specific targets grouped in 17 separate goals to be accomplished.

Of the 17 global goals set by the UN as part of the Sustainable Development Goals, this training course is expected to contribute to Goal 14 "Conserve and sustainably use the oceans, seas and marine resources."


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