|Perspectives of artisanal fisherfolk in Senegal|
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Mare Nostrum – Perspectives of artisanal fisherfolk in Senegal
Report of the visit to wholesalers and fishmongers in Hann
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We went to the beach in Hann (Yarakh in Woloff) on Wednesday, 01/06/2011, to meet the various actors in the fisheries in Senegal. The first step was meeting with wholesalers who received us at the offices at the landing place in Hann. The session began with self-presentations by the participants, including people living in Hann and the delegation of Mundus maris / Mare Nostrum led by Carla, who was assisted and Stefan and, for the occasion, by Oumar Sow, a member of the local MM team. Following this presentation, Carla, in her capacity as coordinator of Mare Nostrum, opened the discussion by asking questions relating to key challenges the people active in the fishery face and the solutions they recommend. Babacar Mbaye, called "Mbaye Rokh," representing the range of wholesalers Hann, explained the main constraints to the development of their activities, supported in this by his fellow wholesalers. They first defined the activity of fish traders as that of purchasing seafood directly from fishermen to sell the fish either to companies that process or export it to overseas or to women fish vendors there or in the villages.
The oldest among the fishmongers present at the meeting attested to the good health of their business in the past despite the modest and very basic traditional working means available to them. They said they did not need ice to preserve fish because it was selling fast and they it put on carts to sell in the neighborhoods. The current situation is alarming, they say, and a united reaction by the real actors of the fishery is needed. Among the difficulties that Mr. Mbaye Rokh mentioned, we note:
And they denounce the silence, the laxism and inertia of state authorities to deal with their difficulties and propose all the same some solutions so that the actors in the fisheries can enjoy the fruit of their work and that fishing becomes more transparent and is sustainable.
We then made for the women fish vendors and were received by the ladies Fatou Diop NIANG and Khady FALL, called "Sela", both officials and representatives in Hann, Senegal (National Collective of Artisanal Fishermen in Senegal: CNPS). They gave us an idea of how their activities of selling and trading fish, too, are not always rewarded for their efforts, because they have difficulties with the acquisition and distribution of fish. They started with acknowledging the fishermen who, they say, are the bravest players in the fishery and in spite of that suffer more than any other.
Women fish traders have denounced the scarcity of resources. Depending exclusively on the sale of fish as a source of income, fishmongers consider the scarcity of resources is the biggest worry hanging over them. Another concern relates to the fact of the character of Hann as a traditional fishing village. This tends to disappear because most young people are no more attracted to this activity which is not rewarding to the practitioners, they suffer more than they earn. The acquisition of funds to support them and spare them the risk of cessation of activity is also a problem of these women, who often are not educated enough to take the appropriate counter measures.
They claim to have charges greater than those of wholesalers because they also have to buy ice to keep their fish and they must pay more for young men so that their products reach the sales sites. They also denounce the fact that only the fishermen talk of the problems of fishing, while others are in their offices owning sea-going canoes remain unresponsive, while it is they who earn more than fishers and do not suffer. After recalling that they were the main breadwinners of their families, the women have developed solutions and ideas to restore the former luster of fishing and preserve the cultural identity of Hann.
Faced with these difficulties, before adjourning the meeting and to provide alternatives, the women fishmongers issued a vow to the Mundus maris mission to work together in the coming years to explore the perspectives provided by:
Click here to see a slide on the Mundus maris channel show about the ground realities in Yoff and Hann.
Click here to see a slide show video on the Mundus maris channel about the activities of Fatou and Sela as fish mongers in Hann.
All photos by Stefan Karkow.