More Fish, Not Poison

A group of fishermen in Gabes gather around their empty nets. They cannot catch fish in the polluted sea.

A group of fishermen in Gabes gather around their empty nets. They cannot catch fish in the polluted sea.

Two fishermen sew a net with the hope that something will change.

Two fishermen sew a net with the hope that something will change.

A group of fishermen stare towards the sea, the chemical plant looming behind them.

A group of fishermen stare towards the sea, the chemical plant looming behind them.

At low tide, fishermen desperately search their empty nets for fish.

At low tide, fishermen desperately search their empty nets for fish.

Some boats have been abandoned by their owners after they could no longer pay their fees.

Some boats have been abandoned by their owners after they could no longer pay their fees.

Once abundant, only sparse animal populations remain along Gabes beaches.

Once abundant, only sparse animal populations remain along Gabes beaches.

Empty nets after a long day of work.

Empty nets after a long day of work.

No longer useful, some boats have been abandoned on shore.

No longer useful, some boats have been abandoned on shore.

Ongoing economic and social inequality, a legacy of the dictatorship, affects Tunisians across generations, but has particularly pronounced impacts on young people. ICTJ worked with four young photographers to confront the consequences of marginalization and explore its impacts on Tunisian youth. Their four photo galleries comprise the exhibition "Marginalization in Tunisia: Images of an Invisible Repression.” In this gallery, Ali Jabeur explores the environmental and economic devastation of the fishing town of Gabes.

About the Gallery

For years, many people in the Gabes region in eastern Tunisia were fishermen. The Gulf of Gabes is the largest in Tunisia home to a variety of fish and plentiful resources. But in 1947 a chemical company set up in the region. At first it was a boon, creating more jobs, but over time it has become a curse: the factory has become a source of deadly chemical pollution. Aside from the toxic gas that it produces the company also pours waste into the sea each day, which has driven out many of the marine animals that have given life to the region. These problems have had a deep impact on the region: most fishermen in Gabes are now unemployed and have many qualms with the state, which does not seek solutions for their plight.

About the Photographer

Ali Jabeur, 26, began pursuing photography as a child. “I was the only one in the family allowed to use my father’s ‘very precious’ camera,” he explains. Those amateur family snapshots blossomed into a serious passion during the 2011 Jasmine Revolution, when Ali discovered the power of the photo. “I realized that being a photographer is a responsibility and that taking pictures is a mission,” he says. “For me, it means committing to and defending a cause, an approach that guides all of my work.” Ali is now photojournalist and is currently setting his own communication company up.

Explore the other three galleries that comprise "Marginalization in Tunisia: Images of an Invisible Repression"

Nedra Jouini on the psychological effects of marginalization
Emna Fetni on the social and spacial outskirts of Tunis
Ashraf Gharbi on the challenges facing one couple who stood up to the dictatorship