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The fishing industry can be complex

Over the weekend I paid a visit to the fishing city of Mbour Fishing City, Thies, Senegal.

80km south of Dakar, population of about 215k. I was curious to see another side of Senegal.

I am no expert in the fishing industry but I do know the sector accounts for about 3% of Senegal's GDP and women play a major role.

The beach was buzzing with energy. Boats had arrived in that morning and distributed their catch to the mainly women merchants who were busy gutting and displaying fish for sale. Others were packing fish in ice to ship across the region to restaurants and hotels.

My guide, Zall, explained that this is largely artisanal fishing and not industrial factory boat fishing. Up to 50 men (in the largest boats), go out for a week long trip. Eating, sleeping and fishing on the boat. The crew mainly made up of family members. The bigger the catch, the greater the pay day.

There is a lot going on in Senegal's fishing sector right now. I am cautious not to thread on issues I don't fully understand. Suffice to say challenges being addressed range from the impact of fishmeal factories, concern over depleting fish stocks, issue of licences to foreign vessels and government investment in 200k buoyancy aids.

If you are interested in and you understand the sector I would say targeted and well intentioned international investment is welcome. You will most definitely have to connect with local community groups and take the time to understand how and where to influence policy.

Otherwise, I recommend you visit as a tourist. You will be warmly welcomed and you will be helping the community of Mbour simply by creating awareness. I can give you Zall's number!

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