Photos’ credit: Aliadoumadji Rimadoum (Chad)
Review: Aliadoumadji Rimadoum and Abdel Rahman El Gamal (Founder of the website)
The processing of fish catch from Lake Chad is done by three main methods whereas smoking is one of the oldest and most common methods used. Traditionally, smoking kiln is being in use (shown in the inserted pictures). The smoking kiln measures 1-3 m square x 0.5-1 m high and constructed of mud bricks overlaid with a metal grating to hold the fish, and topped with corrugated metal sheeting or matting to retain the smoke generated by fire from below a rafter; local wood is used for that.
Usually fish is washed, gutted, sun-dried and then smoked. Large fish is usually cut into pieces for proper smoking while small fish are smoked whole. In such traditional smokers, the intensity of heat and smoke is not easily regulated. When large catfish (Clarias gariepinus) is smoked, each fish is coiled head-to-tail. The disadvantages of this method are mainly related to the high wood consumption, less ability to regulate the intensity of heat and smoke as well as the relatively long time required for smoking.
Fish smoking in Chad is women’s responsibility. Women fish processors occasionally hire young men to assist in dressing fresh fish especially during the peak periods of processing.