Migration of Senegalese artisanal fishermen in West Africa: patterns and impacts

Elhadj Deme, Pierre Failler, Moustapha Deme

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The objective of the article is to analyse the impacts of Senegalese migrant fishing in the West African space. Field surveys at the major departure and reception centres of Senegalese migrant fishermen have made it possible to identify socio-cultural and technological impacts, repercussions on fishing resources, contribution to food security, economic spin-offs and conflicts linked to their presence in Gambian, Guinean, Bissau-Guinean, Mauritanian and Leonese waters. At the socio-cultural level, research focused on the integration of Senegalese craftsmen in host countries. Overall, the analysis reveals a more or less successful integration depending on the host country. Senegalese artisanal fishers have contributed to the transfer of fishing technologies and artisanal processing of fishery products to local populations. Through the domestication of part of their catches and the payment of local taxes linked to fishing activities, Senegalese fishermen contribute to food security and the local economy of the host countries. Finally, the research reveals a fear among fishermen in host countries of a generalized decline in fishing potential with the frequent practice of illegal and unsustainable fishing. Despite the significant economic, financial, technological and social impact of Senegalese migrant fishing in reception centres, no policy has yet been implemented to improve their very precarious living conditions. This state of affairs is part of the more global problem of the lack of development of policies and measures specific to migrant fishers in West Africa.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)253-265
JournalAfrican Identities
Issue number3
Early online date26 Jul 2021
Publication statusPublished - 1 Aug 2021


  • Migrant fishers
  • Senegal
  • West Africa
  • impacts


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