Artisanal Fishing and Responsible Cooking on Both Sides of the Mediterranean

Bizerte in Tunisia, will host the first event to bring together artisanal fishing communities from Egypt, Italy, Morocco, and Tunisia.

The first edition of Slow Fish: Artisanal Fishing and Maghreb and Mediterranean Cuisine will take place in the Old Port of Bizerte (Tunisia) on Saturday, April 7, 2018. The event, organized by Slow Food and the Club Bleu Artisanal association as part of the international Slow Fish* campaign, will celebrate local gastronomy and the guardianship of fishery resources, marine environments, and artisanal fishing communities of the Mediterranean.

Professionals in responsible small-scale fishing, food crafts, and local cuisine from Egypt, Italy, Morocco, and Tunisia will meet to discuss the fundamentals of responsible fishing and Mediterranean cuisine. Discussions will be accompanied by tastings of dishes based on local products.

This event is an opportunity to showcase the Slow Food Presidia** and Slow Food communities, promote the Club Bleu Artisanal label for artisanal fishing products, and bring together chefs, experts, students, fishers, and consumers to share their knowledge and practices.

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The Participants

Egypt: Artisan fishers from Marsa Matruh (northwest coast)

Italy: Producers from the Magghia Masculina Presidium (Sicily)

Morocco: Aglou Artisan Fishers and Cooks (Tiznit Province)

Tunisia: Ezeddine Artisan Charfia Fishers; artisan fishers of Haouaria, Djerba, and Zarzis; the recent Kerkennah Islands Traditional Fishing Presidium (watch this video to learn more); and a community of women who grow old wheat varieties to make traditional Tunisian wheat products.

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Main Themes 

Responsible Gastronomy

Responsible gastronomy can support and encourage artisanal fishing techniques. There will be a roundtable dedicated to this topic.

Preservation of Traditional Knowledge

The traditional fishing sector faces challenges related to low capacity, over exploitation, climate change, and rising operating costs. The artisan fishers and chefs from Aglou (Morocco) have joined forces to organize the Tigri Festival, dedicated to artisanal fishing, while fishers from Haouaria (Tunisia) have formed the Club Bleu Artisanal association, which promotes artisanal fishery products.

Industrial Fishing

Due to industrial overfishing, the quantity of fish caught in the port of Marsa Matruh (Egypt) is the smallest of all the Egyptian fishing ports. For this reason, the cooperative, supervised by the NEMO project, is promoting fish of low commercial value, linking fishermen and local restaurateurs.

Invasive Species

Since 2014 the blue crab has proliferated at an alarming rate along the coast of Djerba, Tunisia. The fishers of Djerba are very seriously affected by damage to fishing nets, loss of income, and an overall decline in fish populations. Efforts have been made to promote the blue crab, which has very low commercial value and with which Tunisian consumers are unfamiliar.

The Importance of Women

In Tunisia there is a women’s community that, with persistence and pride, continues to cultivate ancient Tunisian wheat varieties, keeping alive an important gastronomic tradition: the artisanal production of bread, couscous, bulgur, and pasta.

Throughout the day, there will be a market of local and marine products.

 

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* The international Slow Fish campaign launches and collaborates with initiatives that promote artisanal fishing methods and inspire reflection on the state on the state and management of the sea’s resources. To have any chance of success, this reflection must start at a local level.
** Slow Food Presidia projects support quality food production at risk of extinction, protect unique regions and ecosystems, recover traditional processing methods, and safeguard native breeds and local plant varieties.
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