Info

Kids having fun near Sfax

Graham Hütt

Depths in Metres

Market

Nouvelle Darse

Bassin del Voiliers

Tanks

Quai de \ Madagascar

VQ(9)10s

Control Tr

7JVQ(6)+LFI.10s iL f Sfax 9

FI.G.10s

Garde National Quay

Fish hall

BankD Fishing Port

Dredged to 5m (buoyed)

Silted

139 The Kerkennah Islands

Comprised of two principal islands 10M E of Sfax, this is a low-lying place of tranquillity amongst very friendly and hospitable people who see few tourists.

Charts

Admiralty 3403, 1162 French 4315, 4235, 4237

The islands

A group of sandy islands 10M from the mainland coast and a world away from busy Sfax. Vegetation is sparse: mainly wind-blown palm trees, some scattered fig trees and small vegetable gardens. Their greatest attraction is their solitude and the simple, unchanged way of life of hospitable people.

The islands have in the past been a place of exile. During the recent struggle for independence, Bourguiba was interned here until he escaped to Libya from Kraten on the NW corner of lie Chergui.

The group consists of two main islands, lie Rharbi and lie Chergui, separated by a narrow channel, and two small uninhabited islets off the £ coast. Much of the land is less than 3m above sea level and the highest point is 20m. They sit among the Kerkennah Banks, of sand, mud and weed, which extend 35 miles from the coast between Ras Kapoudia and Sfax, and arc separated from the mainland by the Canal des Kerkennah.

The main activity is fishing on the sandbanks. Traditionally the fish are caught in charfias, traps made of palm tree fronds permanently planted in the sea bed. Long lines of these palm fronds stretch from the beach out to sea and serve to divert the fish to a chamber with fish nets around its circumference. Typically one charfia brings in 1000kg of fish per month. Small rowing or lateen rigged sailing boats arc used to empty the nets daily. Two thousand sailing and rowing boats are still in use around the islands together with a slowly increasing number of powered boats. The sailing boats are mostly used from the beaches whereas the powered boats operate mainly from the new fishing port of Najet at Kraten. Fishing by the ancient method of net-throwing is also used.

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