Fish Resources in Sudan: Interview with Fisher-woman

By: Mohammed Osman

KHARTOUM,(Sudanow)- The Sudan possesses vast and diverse water surfaces which host tremendous fish resources of numerous species, the UN Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) estimating the Sudan’s fish stock at around 110,000 tons. The irrigation dams, lakes and reservoirs (hafirs) are regarded suitable for fish production, backed up by fish rearing.


sudanow.info.sd had a conversation with Fisherwoman Huda Mohamed Abdul Hamid Khalil in Jebel Awlia region, about 50 km south of Khartoum, who spoke about her fishing experience.

sudanow.info.sd: Would you please introduce yourself?
Fisher-woman: my name is Huda Mohamed Abdul Hamid Khalil, a fisher-woman, married with two sons and two daughters. I’m the owner of Al-Huda Fish Company in Jebel Awlia with a branch in Al-Dubasin on the White Nile.

sudanow.info.sd:When have you begun practicing this job?
Fisher-woman :Am in this business since 1972. My partner used to be my husband but I have begun to operate independently by myself since 1989. I like this job which I have learnt since I was six years of age. 4

sudanow.info.sd:Who works with you on this business?
Fisher-woman: At first I used to work by myself, catching fish late into the night and despite the hardships and sleeplessness, I felt very happy. But now I have become incapable of taking the nets to the river after undergoing an optical surgery and the doctors advised me not carry heavy things. At first I employed 12 persons for work on the boats but now the number was cut to two persons plus six others who salt the fish and place it in refrigerators.

sudanow.info.sd:Do you have any job other than fishing?

Fisher-woman: fishing is my main business but we have of late started grilling and selling fish to customers for increasing the income, upgrading the economic and financial capabilities of the workers and securing an extra earning to cope with the day-to-day cost of living.

sudanow.info.sd:Who are your normal customers?

Fisher-woman:Customers of all ages, including foreigners living in the Sudan, students and families.

sudanow.info.sd: Which fairs have you taken part in?
Fisherman:I participated in an agricultural exhibition in Syria and also in Egypt, Dubai and China and locally I took part in a Port Sudan exhibition as well as all fairs organized by the universities and in 1996 I was accorded the Development and Peace decoration.

sudanow.info.sd: Are you planning to establish projects in accompaniment of the fishing business?

Fisher-woman:Of course, am planning to establish a poultry project as well as another project for making use of some weeds such as a type which is used for making roofs and as fish fodder and yet a third project of catching a certain kind of fish with the fish-hook in a number of locations in the White Nile which is sold at high prices.

sudanow.info.sd: Is there any negative effect by the dams on fishing?

Fisher-woman:We have a problem caused by the turbines which have now got lower than their previous levels and this resulted in chopping heads of the parent fishes and consequently threatening fish extinction. The high current caused by the powerful flow of water from the dams also has an adverse impact on our production.

sudanow.info.sd:How many fishing boats are operating in the Dam area?

Fisher-woman:There are 250 boats each operated by two fishermen. The fishing is practiced according to the level of the Nile water. The winter season stretches from October to January, followed by a period from February to June during the operations extend from the White Nile to the Sabalogah cataract while the summer season begins from 15 March to July.

sudanow.info.sd: What obstacles do you face?

Fisher-woman:The lack of transportation from the production venues to the consumption markets is the main problem and then comes the taxation problem.

sudanow.info.sd: What are the important types of fish?

Fisher-woman: The kass, bayadh, calf (of fish), kawarah, gargour, dabas, benne, Khashm al-Banat (girls’ mouth) which began to extinct, kadan, tamberah, barad, tilapia and catfish (all, except the last two, are Sudanese names).

sudanow.info.sd: What are the best kinds?

Fisher-woman:The calf, Bayadh and the tilapia. The latter lays eggs each four months.

sudanow.info.sd: For how much do you sell fish?

Fisher-woman: The tilapia now sells for 50 pounds a kilo, up from 15 and 35 pounds. The price depends on the volume of production, that is, the scarcer is the kind the higher is the price.

sudanow.info.sd: Have you ever passed through any difficult experience in the River?

Fisher-woman: There were no difficult experiences but I remember that I was fishing during the night when a huge hippopotamus attacked and broke the oar. I was not scared by this and I began to row with the anchor before the worker climbed down and fixed the oar.

sudanow.info.sd: How do you view the River?

Fisher-woman: It represents everything for me. It is my life; I got married in the River and I have lived in it until now, although I own houses in Jebel Awlia town. I work in the River till the early morning hours when we load the pick-up trucks with fish.

sudanow.info.sd:Are there predatory animals in your area?

Fisher-woman:The hippopotamus has now disappeared but there are the dogfish and some crocodiles, although some of them, like the long white crocodile, have shifted to other places.

sudanow.info.sd: Could you name the most famous fishermen?

Fisher-woman:There are Ali Mustafa and Shulkawe who are long-experienced with knowledge of the River secrets.

sudanow.info.sd: What scares you in the River?

Fisher-woman:Nothing. Throughout my work of more than 40 years I have not seen any suspicious thing during my travels of fishing up to the borders with South Sudan.

- Many thanks for the chat
- The pleasure is mine.

Sudanow is the longest serving English speaking magazine in the Sudan. It is chartarized by its high quality professional journalism, focusing on political, social, economic, cultural and sport developments in the Sudan. Sudanow provides in depth analysis of these developments by academia, highly ...


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