We don’t know yet much about fishing practices among the Kebbawa fishermen. They are fishing in areas that are too dangerous to shoot a movie, at least for the moment. As mentionned in the section about the trilogy, we plan to focus on fishery in the movie number 3.
Hereafter, we present a few data produced between 2010 and 2015 at Garidji island (next to Ayorou) where a group of nomadic fishermen lives.

Division of labour and economy

Traditionally, men and male children are responsible for fishing activities. Yet, our informants told us that women fish occasionally. All fish caught by men are then collected by women and young girls who are in charge of preparing fish for the smoking process. Young children generally gather wood. Except a specific specie of fish that is allocated to women, all smoked fish belongs to the patriarch.


Some fish (kairaw (the Nile Perch); daria…) are known to host spirits that inhabit the river. In the case such fish is caught, the fish can transform into a person once in the canoe or it can return to the river. According to various sources, a particular kind of crocodile (karey bi) can also be possessed by dangerous spirits which are known to kill the guilty fisherman and its entire family.

Daria, a fish with spirit

under construction

Decreasing of fish

Whereas several sources attest that nomadic fishery was highly profitable, it appears that nomadic fishermen have become poorer during the last decades. One main factor is the decrease of fish catch and more generally of fish in the river. See ITV of Mahamadou Boureima for an explanation.

Scholars argue that the severe droughts in the Sahel has considerably depleted fish stocks. In addition, overfishing is observed in many areas where local farmers also practise fishing to generate additional income. Importantly, fishermen and other inhabitants of the river banks argue that the disparition of animist practices has negatively impacted catches and more generally the life of water animals.

under construction

By Eric Hahonou