Gambia’s tolerance for Chinese fish factories tested as Beijing courts poor African nation with deals

Alanson Aquante shrugged as he carefully pinched and turned fish on a large cement grill.

“Before we had plenty of fish here and very cheap,” he said, barely visible through the smog that filled his smokehouse in Gunjur, a fishing community on Gambia’s southwest coast.

“Now the fish is scarce I can sell it easily. The Chinese coming into the fish industry meant the price went up.”

For almost a decade Aquante, 36, has earned a living smoking small pelagic fish like sardinella and bongato be traded in local markets.

A male fish smoker in a trade traditionally dominated by women – he is one of few people profiting from the Chinese fishmeal producers in the country.

Once abundant, fish stocks in West Africa are being depleted by foreign fishermen trawling the ocean for high value…

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