‘Fish Meal’ is a work in progress project looking at the impact of international fish processing factories in the village of Sanyang, Gambia relating to food insecurity and environmental concerns. . Also considering the possibilities and limitations of photography as a medium to convey complex issues of growth and globalisation from a localised case study. 16mm movie film was also combined with audio interviews to give further voice to those photographed. The photographs consist of collaborative portraits plus environmental landscapes providing greater context. The Chinese owned fish factory yards from the beach, which, according to the locals is ruining tourism, polluting the waters, creating an unbearable stench, disrupting the livelihoods of traditional fisherman, those processing and selling the fish (mainly women) and most worryingly draining the sea of fish stocks relied upon as the main source of protein.
Strikingly the factory’s purpose was to process the fish into mulch, known as fishmeal, to be shipped back to China as feed for factory farmed pigs. Many I spoke to had been arrested for protesting against the factories in an attempt to force closure over environmental concerns.
“West Africa’s most important fish stocks are in danger of being eaten away for animal feed, with no regional fisheries management policy in place to protect them.. Put simply the stock can’t cope with this pressure ..Without sardines, in a country like Senegal, there will be revolution”