Dried fish exports to São Tomé island are an essential income-generating activity practised by fishers (men) and fish traders (women) in communities of artisanal fishers on Príncipe island. Furthermore, this activity is one of the few income-generating activities that women can access and is one of the few sources of external fund injection into the coastal communities on Príncipe. In June 2020, Fundação Príncipe conducted a telephonic survey to understand the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic on the livelihoods of 22 rural communities on Príncipe (n=132, snowball sampling). The results revealed that the value chain for both fresh and dried fish had been strongly impacted by the pandemic. Unemployment and the collapse of the tourism industry had dramatically reduced the demand for fresh and dried fish on the island, forcing fishers and traders to sell at lower prices. Moreover, disrupted boat transport had greatly restricted the ability to export dried fish, due to reduced frequency of shipments and a travel ban that prevented traders from going to São Tomé to sell fish. Finally, traders - who obtain the fish they export directly from fishers - reported not having enough funds to buy fish and salt it in sufficient quantities for export due to the COVID-19 induced financial crisis.
A Value Chain Analysis to understand these issues was conducted between August and September 2020. The results were presented on March 4, 2020. See video below, and full report here.