So for my pre-departure research, I decided to focus on fishing in Senegal as it makes up a sizable portion of both the economy as well as the identity of many who are involved in the trade. From what I gained, fishing in the country seems to be divided into two factions: artisanal fishing (traditional fishing methods pictured above) and then more modernized commercial fishing. As you might guess, the traditional fishermen are far outmatched in resources and this creates some antipathy between the two fishing factions.
However, in the midst of all of the heated talk about ruining livelihoods, BOTH sides are aggressively over fishing by both taking in too large of a harvest as well as bringing in fish that are too small.
Until recent government mandates, both types of fishermen were locked in a vicious cycle. In order make more money, a fisherman might intuitively think that he has to bring in a larger harvest. However, if every fisherman is trying to increase his harvest, then all of the fish markets are flooded with excess fish which actually devalues each individual fish.
Ironically enough, by working hard and bringing in a larger bounty, a Senegalese fisherman is actually making it MORE likely that he will have a lower standard of living – because everyone else is doing the same thing. All the while, fish populations are being devastated.
However, there have been recent government mandates that help to limit the size of a fisherman’s haul as well as help to ensure no juvenile fish are harvested prematurely. While these sanctions might be less appealing to many of the consumers, (who now pay more for fish due to the less flooded markets) these regulations ensure a greater standard of living for thousands of Senegalese fisherman as well as insuring that fish populations will not be irreparably damaged for generations to come.
Also, here are some links if you are interested to know more: