UNDP and the UK support Saida's fishing sector in partnership with Ministry of Social Affairs and Ministry of Public Works and Transport

June 2, 2023

Saida, June 2, 2023: The United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), with funds from the Government of the United Kingdom, and in partnership with the Ministry of Social Affairs, and the Ministry of Public Works and Transport, has rebuilt and equipped the fish market in Saida, South Lebanon. This transformative project aimed at revitalizing the fishing sector in Saida by modernizing the fish market and providing new facilities and equipment for local fishermen.

According to the World Bank, total fisheries production in Lebanon was reported at 3728 metric tons in 2020. Currently, the revenue in the Fish & Seafood segment amounts to $377.40 million in 2023 with an expected annual market growth rate of 8.51% (CAGR 2023-2027). The Lebanese fish and seafood market is predominantly import dependent (90%). Local production for export is negligible, but there is good potential for boosting production for the local market. The fish sector already supports the livelihood of more than 4,000 families across the Lebanese coast, among which over 450 families in Saida.

The city of Saida, the third largest in Lebanon, has a rich history as a hub of coastal livelihood opportunities, with fishing being a vital sector in the local economy. However, the industry has been struggling due to structural and infrastructural issues, poor hygiene, inadequate port management, and the economic crisis currently affecting the entire country.

This collaborative initiative will enhance the living conditions for the 450 fishermen and their families in Saida, and their wider community, which has been severely impacted by economic hardships. The lack of affordable fishing equipment, fuel, and maintenance for their 150 permanent fishing boats has presented substantial challenges for these individuals.

A town hall meeting in May 2021, organized by UNDP and attended by community members, representatives from the fishermen’s syndicate, beneficiaries, and local authorities raised the need for this project. Renovating the fish market was identified as a high priority, underscoring the urgent need to address the crisis in the fishing sector as well as attracting newcomers to the industry and capitalizing on the economic potential of fishing for Saida.

The project comprised several components (1) the establishment of a state-of-the-art fish market equipped with facilities for the fishermen, aiming to attract more business and boost the local economy, (2) the construction of rooms for fishermen to preserve their fishing equipment from different environmental factors and (3) the provision of essential fishing equipment to the fishermen, alleviating some of the financial strain brought about by the current economic crisis, (4) the installation of a solar lighting system along the fishing harbor to reduce thefts,  enhance the security at the fishing port, and reduce energy costs.

Additionally, the project incorporated capacity-building sessions designed to empower syndicate members and fish market workers. This education will enable them to optimally manage the new facilities and services.

The inauguration of the fish market was attended by H.E. Hector Hajjar, Minister of Social Affairs, 
Mr. Mohammad Nahleh, Head of the Maritime Public Properties Authority at the Ministry of Public Works and Transport, H.E. Hamish Cowell, UK Ambassador to Lebanon, Ms. Melanie Hauenstein, UNDP Resident Representative in Lebanon, Mr. Mohamad Seoudi, Mayor of Saida Municipality, Mr. Nazih Sinbol, Head of the South Fishing Syndicate, as well as fishermen and local stakeholders.

Since 2014, UNDP has fostered a partnership with the United Kingdom through the Foreign, Commonwealth, and Development Office, implementing a total of 246 projects across the entire country, as part of the support to Lebanese host communities impacted by the Syrian crisis. With a contribution of over 94 million USD, the partnership over the years supported interventions in the sectors of municipal services and infrastructure, agriculture, water management, solid waste management, and support to livelihoods, among others, reaching over 1,400,000 women and men from Lebanon’s most vulnerable host and displaced communities.

UNDP is working in Lebanon since 1986 as a development partner supporting economic recovery, including working with municipalities to deliver basic services to host communities, promoting clean energy and solid waste management, strengthening governance and rule of law, providing support to elections, and working on empowering women and youth.

For more information, please contact

In UNDP – Lebanon | Rana Moughabghab | rana.moughabghab@undp.org |  +961 3 835 351

UNDP is the leading United Nations organization fighting to end the injustice of poverty, inequality, and climate change. Working with our broad network of experts and partners in 170 countries, we help nations to build integrated, lasting solutions for people and planet.