Fishing in Zanzibar is an artisanal activity practiced by nearly 30.000 subsistence fisherman using around 7000 relatively small wooden canoes rigged with dhow-like triangular sails. Motorisation is still at a low level, perhaps around 500 out-boards and less than 100 in-boat motors.
Using small nets, hand-lines and traps, their catch brings in an exotic array of Indian Ocean species including: Snapper, Parrotfish, Rabbit Fish, Tuna, Kingfish and even Sharks and Rays.
They sell their catch at small fish-markets dotted around the island. The village of Mkokotoni is one such place. Here locals, mostly old and young men, but also highly decoratively clad Muslim women will join in the barter process to purchase the fish.
For the people of Zanzibar, fishing and farming are the main economic activities, especially since the collapse of the world market market-price for cloves in the 1980s – although it should be said that cloves still remain a major export, along with coconut products and other spices.