With the Tunisian Institute of Marine Sciences and Technology INSTM, has used its PANORAMA solution to adapt the successful sponge farming solution from Zanzibar to Tunisia.


  • Traditional sponge fisheries is down due to over-harvesting & diseases.
  • Funds had to be found.
  • Do the Tunisian communities find the idea of cultivating sponges instead of sponge fishing good?
  • We have not enough manpower to implement a project of national scope. A well established partner in Tunisia is needed.
  • It must be clarified to what extent women can participate in sponge farming.

Description of the Uptake

In the 15 days evaluation we clarified:

  • Are the local communities ready to start with us?
  • Do the local authorities support the pilot project?
  • Are reliable project partners at national and local level available?
  • What kind of permits are needed?

In Tunis, Zarzis, Djerba and Kerkenah, 13 presentations were made. 1. part: the sponge farming and the business model in Zanzibar. 2. part: questions&answers, and discussion of possible problems and solution approaches. In addition, field visits were made, and six good test farming locations chosen.


A summary of the evaluation trip was given to the INSTN headquarter. A joint decision was made to:

  • carry out a one-year joint research project,
  • set up a MoU,
  • start the detailed planning,
  • raise the necessary funds
  • apply for the necessary permits
  • If the pilot project is successful, start of a two-year development project.

Success factors

  • Needed funds secured.
  • Presentations of the show Case Zanzibar
  • Start possible at grassroots level
  • Local partners in all three communities are committed to the project
  • Adaptation to local culture and tradition seems possible
  • Professional partner with good nationwide network is engaged
  • Promising pilot farm sites evaluated
  • Warm welcome, Tunisian hospitality opened doors
  • INSTM organized the trip very professionally

Stumbling factors

  • Covid regulations causes several delays
  • Bureaucracy and lack of permits make planned test operations temporarily impossible
  • Too many parties want to be involved in the project
  • High expectations of communities and stakeholders
  • Insufficient local support could lead to disappointment
  • Difficulties in establishing brood stock due to overharvesting and disease
  • Theft / Security
  • Illegal bottom trawling

Replication methodology

  • Required financial resources secured
  • Presentation of the successful show case and business model of Zanzibar.
  • Film screenings (let fishers speak to fishers) for beneficiaries and potential stakeholders.
  • Participatory multi-stakeholder discussion. Identification of potential problems and discussion of possible solutions approaches, especially in the areas of sustainability, socioeconomics, ecology and governance.