A book, ‘Traditional Fishing Methods of Africa’, by Prof Mike Bruton has just been published and is available from the publisher, Cambridge University Press.
This book is an illustrated overview of an aspect of Africa’s cultural and technological heritage that has largely been ignored its traditional fishing methods. An astonishing variety of innovative fishing techniques has been developed by African fishermen to catch fishes and shellfishes using their intimate knowledge of the distribution and behaviour of fishes and the dynamic properties of aquatic environments. These methods include spears, bows-and-arrows, poisons, fish barriers, traps, baskets, nets, artificial reefs and fish aggregation devices, and the canoes, dhows and boats used to deploy them. Many of these traditional methods harvest fishes sustainably but they have been replaced by ruthlessly efficient ‘modern’ gear, such as multi- and monofilament gillnets, giant seine and trawl nets, insecticide-impregnated mosquito nets, explosives and synthetic poisons, that are devastating fish stocks. An appeal is made for the recognition of the value of traditional fishing methods whose extinction would represent a loss of valuable indigenous knowledge.
For more information about the book, download its information flyer.