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The barracuda's tale: trawlers, the informal sector and a state of classificatory disorder off the Nigerian coast

  • Axel Klein

The expansion of Nigeria's artisanal fisheries has been a rare economic success story during the 1980s. Without assistance from government agencies the canoe fishermen, many of them Ghanaian migrants, have responded successfully to the opportunities offered by the Lagos market. In recent years declining fish stocks and competition from trawlers have forced shore-based fishermen to adapt their operations to changing circumstances. In describing a number of such responses the article tackles a number of wider themes in economic anthropology and African studies. Contrasting the opposition and co-operation of industrial and artisanal fisheries throws an interesting light on the informal sector debates, while the role played by the marine police and the navy feeds into the discussion on the African state.

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