A record number of 1,313 immigrants it has been reported that they have lost their lives, or their fate is unknownat off the coast of Tunisia last year, a rights group said today, pointing to a worsening migrant crisis in the North African country.

That number represents about 75 percent of the number of dead or missing off the coasts of Italy, Libya and Malta, Ramadan Ben Amor, an official at the Tunisian Forum for Economic and Social Rights, told Reuters.

Tunisia has replaced Libya as the main departure point in Africa for those trying to escape poverty and conflict in other parts of Africa and the Middle East in the hope of a better life in Europe.

And as weather conditions have improved since January, the influx of African migrants, including Tunisians, on boats bound for Italy has increased.

Around 100 migrants have died or gone missing off the coast of Tunisia since mid-January.