Tamarin’s fishmonger

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A profession as old as that of the fisherman. Early in the morning, he is stationed in front of the “Maison des pêcheurs” (Fishermen House), eyes wide open, his scrutinising gaze piercing the ocean. Low tide, high tide, “lahoul” (wave swell), wind direction … everything is analysed, dissected, evaluated. Those criteria determine how fishing will operate on this day. And without the fishmonger, the fishermen won’t see their items on the island’s market stalls. He generally buys everything that is brought back by the pirogues.

A small, happy crowd usually hurries to the wharf once the fishermen are back. Beautiful silver tuna are disembarked, eyes already glazed over, fixedly staring at the horizon yet unable to move. The fishmonger’s old hook scale weighs the catch; negotiations are whispered so as not to be overheard. Fish are roughly emptied right there and the luckiest ones get to buy one or two from the catch. The rest is sent to town where they will be sold a day later.

No fishing today. The swell is too big; the weather is influenced by a cyclone off the coast of Madagascar. The fishermen make the most of it and use this time to prepare their ballasts for the sunken nets. A big sheet of rusty corrugated iron is cut, wrung and straightened. The fishmonger is among “his men”. Keeping and maintaining the relationship, asking about the children, laughing together… Tomorrow, business is back as usual for the fishmonger.