Fishmongers hard-hit by post-Tobaski fish scarcity

By Maria Lopes

July 30, 2021

Fishmongers in the Gambia are again feeling the crunch of the usual post-Tobaski fish scarcity. Fatou K Sanyang, a fishmonger at Bakoteh Market, told The Progress Newspaper that it is always a problem getting fish after Tobaski because the fishermen usually travel to their villages to observe the feast with their families. She said it is rather disheartening that most of the fishermen in The Gambia are Senegalese.

“So when there is scarcity of fish we don’t have to blame them because this is the only time they have to spend with their families. Some people prefer to eat fish after Tobaski, because they believe that the meat should not last for three days, but how can one sell or eat fish when it is not available in the market?” She queried.

Jarra Ceesay, another fishmonger at the Serekunda Market, said going to Tanji as early as 5am to get fish is a very difficult task, but they have no choice, as they have to earn money to take care of their families.

Her words: “It is always a difficult moment for us during the Tobaski period because most of us live from hand to mouth; how can we feed our children when there is no fish to sell for days? We face lots of challenges in buying and selling fish to sell to our customers, especially in these trying times.”

Another fish seller, Haddy Nyass, described the post-tobaski fish scarcity as ‘unbearable and stressful’ as they do not even know where to start from immediately after Tobaski.  She said: “We prefer selling our fish to our customers at a reasonable price but it depends on how we buy it from the fishermen, because the price usually fluctuates when there is scarcity of fish.”

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