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Smoked fish in the Congo is a leading cause of deforestation in the country. Known as Makwala, the smoked fish is a very popular delicacy in the Congo.

Source: africanews/Youtube

However, to smoke the fish, a lot of wood is burned in the process. The demand for wood to make the smoked fish is leading to deforestation in the area, and the vast and beautiful mangrove forests have begun to disappear.

The forests in the Congo make up over 10 percent of the Congo-basin forest cover, and local loggers continue to target these forests. The Congo-basin rainforest is the second-largest behind the Amazon, and it’s a home for much unique wildlife. The numerous trees in the forest also help eat greenhouse gases. Although logging is technically illegal, there isn’t much oversight, and the forests are often taken advantage of.

Smoking fish takes a lot of wood-burning, and they are constantly fish being smoked. A female fish smoker told AfricaNews, “For twenty boxes of fish, the wood content is two tri-cycles, when it is well loaded. (…). It is a significant quantity. We can use it for a whole day. Smoking fish is a difficult job. It depends on the quantity and size of the fish. When it comes to big fish, it consumes quite a bit of wood unlike frying.”

Many charities are trying to introduce smoked ovens which use less fuel, but the vendors are hesitant. In the area, electricity is unreliable, and many people cannot afford to purchase gas. Many of these areas that are ridden with poverty don’t have many choices and continue old cooking traditions like smoked fish.

We need countries that have the means to help stop this deforestation. It may seem like this forest won’t affect us because it is so far away, but deforestation and Climate change affect everything and everyone. We need to fight it! Sign this petition to help stop deforestation!

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