Over the past decade, Tunisian fishing communities have been plagued by an invasive species of crab known as Daesh for its destructive nature. But now they catch the pests for sale overseas
• Photographs by Rossella Santosuosso
It can take Nabil a whole day to free the crabs entangled in his fishing nets. It is slow and meticulous work. Back in 2014, fishers such as Nabil started to notice large numbers of the blue swimmer crabs (Portunus segnis) off Tunisia, particularly in the Gulf of Gabès on the country’s east coast.
No one knows how the crabs came to the Mediterranean Sea from their native Indian Ocean, whether they migrated via the Suez canal or were inadvertently transported on ships. But many researchers believe the climate crisis has helped the spread of the species as sea temperatures rise north of their normal range.
Nabil and Imed find blue crabs entangled in their fishing nets