Fish is very popular and a significant source of income in Senegal. Wherever you go in Senegal , fish is always on the menu.
In the small town of Kayar, 60km from the capital, Dakar, fishing is what people know best. Fishing is a family tradition that has sustained generations of townspeople. Catches are dramatically down. Some believe the industry is in danger of sinking. Abdoul Aziz Deng has fished all his adult life. Now the current situation looks grim.
“All our revenues come from fish. If there is a shortage, it affects all areas of everyday life. Things are very hard and I don’t have enough money to look after my family,” Abdoul said.
It’s not just the men who haul the fish out of the sea who are hurting. The women who dry and smoke the fish are also suffering. The women affected by the crisis are represented by Codou Diop. She says there has been a real reduction in activity because of the shortage of fish.
And then there is the poor infrastructure. Many people cannot afford the refrigeration or transport necessary to sell their fish in more lucrative urban markets. Some fishermen are actually throwing fish away – at a time when they are struggling to catch them in the first place.
Abdoul represents fishermen throughout the country. He said the industry is acting to save itself, it is busy reorganizing itself. So there are now self-imposed limits on the age and size of fish which may be caught. A fishing rota has also been implemented. People can only fish a few days a week.
The hope is that these measures will help the industry survive turbulent times and paved the way for future generations.