Hundreds of Boats,
Millions of Fish,
All by Hand

With a potential 600,000 tonnes and $1 billion worth of fish netted every year off the Mauritanian coastline, the Atlantic provides a huge resource for the otherwise resource poor nation apart from oil, Iron and gold. 

Photographs and Text by Guy Peterson

In the capitol, Nouakchott, fishing by hand using small pirogues is still the most common way for the locals to fish. larger boats are often only the luxury of international fishing companies coming to fish in the same waters. Everyday hundreds of small boats are launched from the beach loaded with nets by teams of men, many of them subsaharan migrants who have moved just to be able to work on these boats. 

 

As boats are beached in front of the fish market t porters are hired to carry plastic baskets full of fish from the boats to an area designated for the boats catch to be sorted.

Porters are payed for each the of baskets they carry making for some fierce competition between them as they run up and down the beach as fast as possible with the heavy loads on their heads.

Fish that are bought straight from the boat are descalled and gutted atop concrete tables smoothed by years of fish processing these men stand for 12 hours being hired on a freelance basis by anyone who brings their purchase to them.