June 2, 2014

1093 MAURITANIA - The fishermen of Mauritania

When they hear the name of Mauritania, many people imagine the burning sands of the Sahara, nomads swathed in wind-blown robes and camel trains moving through the heat haze. Nothing wrong, but they forget that this country is bordered by the Atlantic Ocean in the west, having a coastal zone of about 754km in length. Probably that most of the mauritanians haven't ever see the ocean, even if this coast is one of the richest fishing grounds in the world.

The fishing fleet of Mauritania, the country's best-kept secret, consists in hundreds of multi-coloured wooden boats crashing through the unrelenting surf towards the open sea, with 20 to 30 men on board of each one. They are les pecheurs du Mauritanie (the fishermen of Mauritania), thousands, who work in these perilous waters and have done for centuries. The sturdy open boats, about 40 feet long, are painted in the brightest and breeziest of colours, because this sort of fishing takes place at night, when fish rise to the surface to feed - is incredibly dangerous.

The boats are frequently lost at sea and never seen again. There are no lights, charts or lifejackets, instead the crews sprinkle the boats with magic water from a local witchdoctor, which, they believe, protects they from danger. I assume that in the postcard are these boats, and the people from the shore are just curious, especially because among them are many women, wearing abaya cloak.

About the stamp
The stamp is part of the series Marine Species of Mauritania, issued on 2013:
spanish mackerel (100 MRO)
stromateidae (150 MRO)
pagrus auriga (220 MRO)
blue-spotted grouper (280 MRO)
common cuttlefish (370 MRO)
dogfish (370 MRO) - it's on the postcard
sardinella (440 MRO)

Mauritania: The Saharan nation of ocean fishermen - BBC News Magazine

Sender: Tianzi Yi
Sent from Nouakchott (Mauritania), on 27.05.2014


  1. I received this postcard from Tianzi Yi. I don't know who is, but I want to thanks him from the bottom of my heart.

  2. That is what I call a really amazing surprise :D