Hard times for Senegal’s Fish sellers

Last updated on September 11th, 2021 at 02:56 pm

On the banks of the atlantic in Hann-Bel Air, Dakar, a young man waits desperately for the arrival of a canoe. Galaye Sarr, a 23 year old Fishmonger, like his colleagues and nearly all players in the Fishing industry is currently experiencing hard times owing to a decline in business. The cause? the coronavirus pandemic.

“My parents own dugout canoes and my big brothers go out to catch fish. But now the canoes are docked, and they’ve been docked for a long time because of the coronavirus” Sarr says. “Because even if they catch fish, we can’t sell it anymore. So they stay with us. Only us, the fish merchants, come to work. But we don’t earn anything anymore” he explains.

Sarr’s daily income has now sunk into significant lows as he suffers low patronage. Compared to the pre-crisis period, this is a source of huge concern to not just him but dealers in the industry.

“Some months I save up to 100,000 CFA Francs, but now just to have 20,000 CFA francs to live on is very difficult. You can see that there is a lot of differences from before. You can’t even sell to the factories anymore. Yet, that’s how we made all our profits”- the words of a man with dampened spirits.

Senegal with 226 coronavirus cases closed its land, sea and air borders in March. Schools are shut, public gatherings banned and business activities limited. All flights are cancelled and many things such as a well sought Merlot fish in Sarr’s store can not be exported to Italy, a favourite destination for his big catches.

This is a case of 2 difficult choices for Sarr. First, the hopes of resuming his fishing business and second, the fear of the coronavirus. But the Senegalese fishmonger says he instead chooses to leave it to God. For a lasting solution to a disease he describes as a curse »