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Green Dancing with Guinea's Fish

In 1968, Miriam Makeba arrived in Conakry Guinea and began her life in exile on Africa’s West Coast. Language barriers notwithstanding, she received a heroine’s welcome and found a home away from home. As she was driven from the airport, she witnessed lush fields dotted with waving palm trees prompting her to say that she had never seen such beauty in a long time.

Fatou, a middle-aged lady from the Guinea’s capital Conakry sees this beauty whenever she visits her ancestral home in Dalaba, the town where Miriam Makeba used to stay.

"The greatest glory in living lies not in never falling, but in rising every time we fall." Nelson Mandela

The sun has risen bright and early. Fatou is basking in this sun as she stands at Conakry’s Bonfi Port gazing at the vast Atlantic Ocean. Although the natural spectacle before her is dripping with shimmering beauty, Fatou’s focus is on one of the small brightly-colored wooden boats that is about to dock. She is a fish seller whose fortunes for the day lie in the belly of that boat. Moments later, she leads a pack of other fish mongers to the boat. They find that the three fishermen pushing the boat into the shore’s wet sand had only managed to catch less than ten kilos of fish far from enough for their needs.

Guinea Fish

Fatou and the fishermen who carry her hopes every dawn keep wondering why fish that was once abundant has drastically dwindled in the last few years. The World Bank has an answer that is gleaned from multiple expert opinions, “Climate change leads to rising sea temperatures, making fish stocks migrate toward colder waters away from equatorial latitudes, and contributing to shrinking fish sizes. It also influences the abundance, migratory patterns, and mortality rates of wild fish stocks.”

What then should Fatou and the fishermen do since they are victims, not perpetrators of climate change? Those international climate funds should facilitate them to be cooperative owners of deep sea shipping vessels that can venture into the deeps and catch a lot more fish for processing, export and sale to the local market. That way, they will be able to dance again with their fish in a profitable and sustainable way.

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Last modified on Wednesday, 28 July 2021 11:04
Environmental Africa

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