Coastal and Marine Environment in Djerba

14 December 2014

The island of Djerba is located on a vast continental shelf of low slope. The 50 meters Funds are situated 30 km from the port of Houmt Souk. This feature generates the largest drawdown of the Mediterranean, the tides can reach 2 m amplitude equinoxes. These shallow depths are favorable for sea grass Cymodocea 1.5m to 3m deep and Posidonia beyond -3 m , real underwater forests that contain and shelter cuttlefish, octopus , 108 species of fish. Artisanal fishing is practiced from picturesque boats that use nets, long lines, and octopus famous jugs. At Borj Jilij, one can observe a fixed fishery "zrayeb" or "cherfia". These fish traps made of palms and planted vertically form a barrier that channels schools of fish to the traps. These fisheries are at number 7 in Djerba. All these fishing methods are environmentally friendly and provide a living for hundreds of families. It is a heritage to be preserved.

Djerba has 150 km of coastline (10% of Tunisia) to the east with sandy dunes and many hotels which is the tourist area; wild, rocky, and marshy west where many waders Spatulas, Flamingos - roses, as well as Herons live and grow.
The site of Sidi Jmour on the west coast is worth to be visited, admired, and preserved. An underwater incursion allows us to discover the sea grass and its inhabitants, especially the beautiful algae, sponges, crabs, stars, gastropods, and the pearl oysters.
This intense underwater life has as corollary many deposits shells on the beaches of Djerba and Sidi Jmour particularly where strings of pearl oysters of cérithes and bubble line up according to their density. 
On some beaches like that which dates back to 5000 years or like Ras R'Mel, it is common to find dead turtles, probably after swallowing a plastic bag. This should be banned. In quiet areas away from traffic -when they are disturbed by the headlights of cars- they lay their eggs. Go for a ride to fishmongers that allow you to get an idea of the variety of caught fish especially prestigious fish species: bream, sole, mullet, grouper... and of course the ubiquitous different species of mullet that seduce Tunisians.
The 5000 ha Boughrara lagoon is the largest of Tunisia, the tidal regime and water circulation have led to the digging of submarine "oued" like the ones before Ajim and Borj Kastil where the snails live.

- Written by: Jean-Marie Nizar Astier
- Translated by: Hatem Ben Jemia
- Proofread by: Marouane Mahroug

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