The Tunisian government has made huge efforts since many years to develop aquaculture, either on its coastline or within its territory. Research facilities, pilot structures and incentive policy were implemented. Two decadal strategies were conducted for the development of aquaculture that are management plan for aquaculture (1996-2006) and the National Strategy of Aquaculture Development (2007-2016). They present the productive goals, recommendations as well as implementation mean to mobilize and attract private investment. Currently, Tunisia aquaculture production is around 7275 tons in 2011, where over 80% comes from marine fish farming.
5,837 tons of marine fish (bass and sea bream) are produced by 21 projects in full production, where 17 projects are offshore farms and four of them are onshore farms. The latter date back since the birth of aquaculture in Tunisia where the breeding is done in raceway ponds. Production is likely to grow up very soon especially that there are 12 other offshore aquaculture farms fishponds but not yet productive.
The activity of fattening bluefin tuna began in 2003 with the aim of better commercial promotion by the fattening of small fish caught in the campaign of bluefin tuna fishing. Four farms were created by tuna Ship ownersAlpha in association with foreign professionals in this field. They are located offshore Mahdia and Hergla. The annual production of these farms have an average of 2400 tons. It is totally sold to foreign clients on husbandry areas.
In dams and water reservoir mainly in the North West, continental aquaculture of Mugilidae and other freshwater species has grown with an average production of 1,000 tons per year.
23 dams are in operation in the north and center of the country. They are stocked by several endemic fish species (barbel, eel) and other introduced species such as zander, common carp, Silurus, Black bass, gordon, common-rudd . Regular stocking of mullet are made by the S / D of aquaculture and GIPP before and now by the CTA.
For the promotion of such retained water, the General Direction for Fisheries and Aquaculture has granted concessions to private operators and to young graduates’ promoters in the field.
Agriculture dams could be used for intensive breeding in floating cages, while dams used for irrigation are used only for extensive mode.
Tilapia breeding in the geothermal water is located south of Tunisia by setting a Pilot breeding station in Bechima in the region of El Hamma under the direction of INSTM.
Shellfish farming is relatively an old activity in Tunisia. It is mainly practiced in the lake of Bizerte, where there are five private facilities located in the north west zone of the lake. Early attempts have involved raising mussel Mytilus galloprovincialis, and then the National Office of Fisheries has developed this activity since its establishment in 1958 and extended it to the breeding of the oyster Crassostrea gigas. However, mussel and oyster breeding remains undeveloped in Tunisia despite the antiquity of this activity and the average annual production has not exceeded the cap of 200 tons.
Breeding is practiced according to suspension technique on fixed tables in the lake of Bizerte. Currently, more than 10 projects are located in the marine zone of Bizerte where breeding is done using net fishing technique.