Araf Plateau Dogon's Respect for Fish Day -Mali
About Respect for Fish Day: Respect for Fish Day is an annual day of action created by In Defense of Animals (USA) to raise awareness about the plight of fish. Fish are the planet’s most widely abused animals, but their suffering receives the least attention. Trillions of fish are exploited and killed every year in the food industry, the pet trade, and laboratories. Science is increasingly revealing that fish are intelligent, emotional beings, and has proven that fish feel pain, yet they are rarely protected by animal welfare legislation.
This AKI Blog post is thanks to Issiaka Konate, Director of Araf Plateau Dogon in Ségou Mali (firstname.lastname@example.org).
The aquatic fauna of Mali consists of a wide variety of fish species. Although fish occupy an important place in the Malian economy, it is sadly regrettable that fish are among the most abused animals in Mali. Fish constitute 5% of Mali's Gross Domestic Product. The fish sector employs nearly 1 million of the Malian population.
The Niger River is the backbone of Mali. Located between the Guinean and Nigerian borders, the Niger River follows a curve of 1,700 km in Mali (over 4,184 km in total length) and bathes the following cities of Mali: Bamako, Koulikoro, Ségou, Mopti, Tombouctou, Gao, and Ansongo.
This powerful waterway provides life for fishermen and farmers installed all along its bed, as well as habitat for a great diversity of fish. This artery of life, irrigating the Sahel, the river draws a long trace of vegetation in the semi-desert immensity of the south of the Sahara. It is a kind of soft green oasis that breaks the aridity of sand dunes and stony plateaus.
From Ségou to the Tossaye Gorge, located upstream from Gao, the waters of the Niger flow into the meadows to form what geographers call the “interior delta”, which is particularly wide between Mopti and Timbuktu. Over the entire 1,700 km long journey, hundreds of thousands of people make a living from fishing with an estimated annual production of between 32,370 and 60,000 tonnes of fish.
CAUSES OF FISH ABUSE IN MALI
The small-scale fishermen try to care for their environment and they respect the lives of fish and appreciate that they are providing an important source of protein to their families. The worst fish abuses come from:
- Illegal fishing - this is due to people fishing in areas where fishing is excluded or from using illegal practices.
- The dumping of chemicals from factories and pesticides against the locust invasion - this is poisoning the river and the fisheries.
- The silting up of the river and the deterioration of fish habitats which destroy the fish fry.
SOLUTIONS FOR THE WELL-BEING OF MALI'S FISH
Initiate an awareness campaign for the defense of fish and assistance to the various groups of women active in fish activities in order to put an end to extensive and illegal fishing.
This is the reason that ARAF AND ITS HUNDREDS OF GROUPS OF WOMEN FISHERFOLK ARE ALLIED WITH AKI AND IDA-USA ON AUGUST 1ST FOR RESPECT FOR FISH DAY.
Araf Plateau Dogon was created in July 2005. It's mission is:
-The establishment of mechanisms promoting the self-development of grassroots rural women’s groups,
-The awareness and empowerment of the population for the defense of animals and the management of their environment,
-The enhancement of natural products for the empowerment of women.