Title: Traditional fish processing and marketing of The Gambia

Author(s): Sirra E. Njai
Final project
Year of publication:
Place of publication:
Number of pages:
Supervisors: Ogmundur Knutsson
Gambia; smoked fish; quality;


The artisanal sector is the major producer of cured fish as about 40% is marketed and consumed smoked and/or dried. Fish is the cheapest source of animal protein in the country, and traditional processing of fish in The Gambia is an important means of making fish available to consumers, especially those living in rural areas. Post harvest losses are high, estimated at 20-30%. The market for smoked fish is expanding, although inadequate market information and low level of organisation among producers and traders limit the efficiency of the trade.

This paper is to assess the improvements required in order to improve the quality and profitability of the smoked fish. To do so the markets for smoked fish and status of the cured fish industry in The Gambia is analysed. Existing methods of fish processing in The Gambia are reviewed. Lessons are drawn from the techniques used in the Icelandic fish industry and how it can be applied in The Gambia. Further research and recommendations required to improve the quality and profitability of smoked fish are highlighted. The discussion on this paper is based on extensive literature review and recent project work.

Methods of fish handling and processing are generally inadequate and result in major fish losses. The handling and processing techniques need to be improved. This will improve the quality of cured products, increasing availability and nutritional values of the fish to consumers and profitability for the producers.

For the cured fish industry to experience growth and gain better access to lucrative markets, there is a need for an organised and structured cured fish industry with a reliable information network. The industry needs to abolish the individual operational strategy. This reorganisation should result in better co-operation between companies and individuals and thus improving the rate of value change from fishing to marketing.

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