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Mbour, Senegal
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The Fishing Life Mbour  Senegal

The Fishing Life

Along the Petite Cote, about 80k south of Dakar, lies Mbour, a town of about 200,000 inhabitants in which a significant part of every day life revolves around fishing. In fact, Mbour is the second largest fishing port in all of West Africa.

One of the most interesting activities is to wander along the beach during the late afternoon. You will soon venture upon a frenzy of activity. On the ocean, hundreds of brightly painted pirogues, the distinct form of Senegalese fishing boat, filter into port as fishermen arrive home after spending the entire day at sea.

Boys unload the catch into plastic bins, place them on their heads, and ferry them to the processing plant, where fish are gutted, packed into boxes laden with ice and hauled onto multitudes of trucks bound for the interior of Senegal.

Meanwhile, hordes of women assemble in packs, some waiting for their fisherman husbands to return, others procuring a portion of the catch from the pirogue owners, which they then sell right on the beach.

Elsewhere, men repair nets and build new pirogues, while women engage in fish drying and cooking. The scene is a constant swirl of color, smell and activity, one which a tourist could spend hours watching.

And although overfishing and waste production are two prominent problems in Mbour, the fish is fresh as can be and the tastiest I have eaten in a very long time.