A day in the life of pirogue fishermen

Thanks to fisherman Omar Jallow, his family and his crew. I think I should also thank him for talking me out of going night-fishing. Next time! Merci Omar!

Watch 10 hours in his pirogue shrunk to 1 minute here.

Or take 3 minutes to see what fishermen in West Africa get up to in a day.

Alternatively, sit back and soak up the experience in this 41 minute recording from a day’s fishing in the nutrient-rich waters where the River Gambia flows into the Atlantic Ocean.

  • Sustainable fishing communities are essential in supporting families, local employment and tourism. 

This film documents – from what I could see, for the first time – what it is like to be a fisherman working the seas off the coast of West Africa in a small pirogue (boat) in this case off the coast of The Gambia.

The 41 minute video documents a pirogue crew’s ten hours at sea – a typical day – leaving as dawn broke around 7am and returning at 5pm.

It was made possible with the co-operation of Omar Jallow and his two crewmates on the ‘Kunta’ pirogue. Like other crews, they fish commercially 11km offshore in the silt-rich waters where the River Gambia merges with the Atlantic Ocean.

‘Kunta’ is one of dozens that set sail daily from Bakau beach in The Gambia. Some fishermen specialise in fishing by night, while larger pirogues go to sea for a week at a time. Many of the fishermen are foreigners. The ‘Kunta’s crew hail from Guinea and Senegal.

The footage was filmed in March, 2018 by journalist Allen Meagher. One week earlier, the seas were rougher than usual and a pirogue sank. Rescue services recovered two bodies. The sole survivor was the one crew-member wearing a lifejacket.

Allen is a former member of the Gambia Press Union and today the editor of ‘Changing Ireland’, a magazine about community development and social inclusion. He was in The Gambia with support from the Simon Cumbers Media Fund.

Copyright Allen Meagher, 2018.

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This journalism was conducted with support from the Simon Cumbers Media Fund.

Hours E: editor@changingireland.ie  T: @allenmeagher  F: http://bit.ly/MeaghersFB  Y: http://bit.ly/MeaghersYoutube L: http://bit.ly/MeaghersLinkedin
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