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Collection and preparation of mangrove oyster by Senegalese women

Photo credit: KIVA Review: Abdel Rahman El Gamal (Founder of the website)

In Senegal, the mangrove roots and mud are home of several hundreds of known species of fish, bivalves and oysters, and crustaceans, which are very important especially for domestic consumption.

Women are the ones who are in charge of the collection of oyster from mangrove forests as well as in the processing of collected oysters. Women have the experience in identifying the sites that are still in good condition in regard to the oyster density and those with low density or exhausted.

Women access the mangrove sites either on foot or in small rowing canoes. For oyster harvesting, women use simple tools are simple including a spoon to dig up the shells, a knife for the oysters, and baskets for the harvest. Upon harvesting, women have the experience that the practice needs to preserve the resource mainly through keeping the green (live) roots of the mangroves undamaged except in certain conditions such as the wood is dead or when the roots are very dense bearing in mind that the roots of mangrove trees where the oysters are found. After harvesting, women also process the harvested oyster. They usually have the experience to crave the oysters out of their shells using a proper knife.

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