Description of Freshwater Fish Traditional Smoking in the Western Region, Cameroon
Western Cameroon is one of the regions most in needs of innovative and healthy solutions for freshwater fish conservation. This study aimed at evaluating the socio-economical characteristics of fish smokers and technical factors on the species smoked in the Noun Division. A total of 91 fish smokers were chosen. The socio-economic data were on age, gender, religion, number of dependents, marital status, ethnic group, education level, economic activities, smoking goals and workforce. The results of this study showed that fish smoking is practiced mainly by women (70%) which is common in Sub Sahara Africa small scale fish sector. The smokers are aged from 20 to 50 years (80%), married (92.2%) and taking care of a family of 1 to 10 persons (80%). These smokers are Muslim (74%), belonging to the Bamoun ethnic group (81%). They were also involved in other activities: agriculture (29%) and trade (1%). About 67% of the sampled smokers’ population had an experience of more than 10 years in the domain. The Purpose of smoking was largely sales (97%) and subsistence (3%). Nile tilapia (Oreochromis niloticus) was the most smoked species (36%), followed by African catfish (Clarias gariepinus) with a proportion of 32%. The average quantity of fresh fish smoked was 110 kg/day/smoker, with Oreochromis niloticus being more produced (60±4.74 kg/day/smoker). With regard to the smoking techniques used, hygiene measures were poorly respected. The major constraints revealed by the survey were that freshwater’s traditional fish smoking activities in Noun Division are influenced by gender, economic and cultural background. There is a lack of technical support material and financial means. Any implications for future investigations on health and food safety will be suitable for fresh fish smokers and the entire consumers.