Tanji Fish Market

Each morning brave fishermen embark on a journey into the Atlantic Ocean hoping to find the most abundant spot to cast their nets. Although nowadays powerful engines attached to large wooden boats make it easier to get to any destination the rest of the fishing process is still manually done. The large net prepared the day before is lowered into the water while the boat’s captain slowly encircles the chosen area. When the time is right, it sometimes takes as many as ten-strong fishermen to slowly pull the heavy net back on board weighed down with numerous types of fish and other sea creatures such as crabs, squid, prawns, lobsters and octopus. 

Upon return, an eagerly waiting crowd of people descend into the water with buckets and baskets on their heads to carry the fish from the boat parked about 50 metres from the shore in order to avoid capsizing. Some do this job for a living, while others also buy the fish directly from the fishermen. The best and largest fish from the catch ends up either on ice to be sold fresh at the market to restaurants and wealthier individuals while the smaller ones go to be processed in long smoking houses alongside the road. People use different woodcuts to slowly smoke the fish. The final product is a cheap but tasty source of protein which is mainly served with rice and sauce to form the staple of the Gambian diet. In recent years European and Chinese companies by up large quantities of fish caught in Tanji to be processed in locally built fish factories for export.