The fish swim and smoke

Boulbinet is one of the most important fishing ports in Conakry. It’s a place where we can see many people doing various activities. However, it can be noted that fishing is the heart of all of these activities. On March 23, we visited the port and talked to a few people who work there.

Alseny Camara is the headman of a group of fifty carpenters. He’s one of the bedrock of the fishing activity. Indeed, it’s thanks to him that fishermen can work. Did you guess?… Mr Camara is a canoe maker! He can build more than six canoes by himself, and make his carpenters build one in less than two weeks. The only condition and the reason of some of the delays is the money and the material given by the customers who order canoes. Besides, the man told us that the price of one canoe is about 20 or 30 million GNF (between 2500 and 4000 euros).

A pirogue sailing an ocean of waste / Pirogue voguant sur une mer de déchets © Rosane N'Gondi
© Rosane N’Gondi

Canoes, as we can see, have lots of advantages, especially regarding fishing. But they also have disadvantages on the environment that we cannot deny and neglect. One of them is deforestation. Indeed, to build one canoe, the carpenters need to use around 120 wood boards. Can you imagine all the trees cut every day, every month and every year, in order to build canoes all around the country? It’s unbelievable…

Guinean people are aware of these kind of dangers, but they didn’t find solutions yet.

When the construction ends up, Mr Mohamed Dioubaté comes on stage: he is a fisherman. He told us that he has to be in the port at 6am. Then, at 7am, he goes fishing with his canoe and comes back at 6pm. When he comes back with fishes, he sells them to women. After that, fishes are either sold in the market or smoked.

We also interviewed a woman named Fatoumata Sylla. She is currently a cooker in the port of Boulbinet (she sells rice along with crabs and fishes), but used to be a fish smoker. When we asked her what the reasons why she stopped it were, she answered: “It’s because of the smoke! I couldn’t handle it ».

Indeed, we completely understand her position: fish smoking contributes a lot to the air pollution, especially because of the carbon dioxide emissions. It’s being a massive problem in this country where fishes are a big part of the economy.

By Rosane Ngondi, Erwan Stachowiak, Kenza Lahlou, and Mariam Cisse.

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