I don’t know one black fisherman. I mean, after all the years I’ve been fishing in this country, I never saw a black man on the bank with a fishing rod in hand. And don’t be silly right away: “That’s because they prefer night fishing.” No really, I only remember one black fisherman, from my childhood, an Aruban I believe, but that was a strange bird. With his fishing rod in the water, he lay on his back next to the pond all day long drinking beers and singing songs. I’ve never seen him catch a fish.

Still, it’s hard to argue that black people don’t like fish. There is stockfish and ready-to-eat codfish in every Surinamese shop, and large slices of anyumara and kandra tiki adorn the Dappermarkt every day. Fish is deep in the DNA of our black fellow man. Recently, archaeologists discovered that the prehistoric Saharan dweller (you know that prehistoric man comes from Africa) already feasted on catfish and tilapia.

You say Africa, you say fish. That’s why I dream of one day sailing the Atlantic Ocean with a Senegalese fisherman and coming back with a yellowfin tuna that weighs more than the two of us together.

The cement of this world is hidden in the salt and sea. Fish and angler are both color blind. With the fishing rod in hand all men become brothers. And of course fishermen don’t dance the hornpipe on all continents. And of course I’ve seen more than once a fisherman press his knee on a fish that struggled, struggled and gasped,’I can’t breathe’.

But still I believe that in the fishing world there is no such thing as white and black. The blood of fishermen is as red as that of fish. Like tango dancers and chess players, fishermen all over the globe understand each other instantly. They smell each other. Just animals. There is only one black fisherman that all fishermen, especially those from ‘t IJsselmeer, thoroughly dislike: the cormorant. Because he steals all the eels.

But there is one chef who has become world famous with blackened fish (‘blackened fish‘) on the menu: Paul Prudhomme. Gourmets flocked from far and wide to see how he redfish from the Mexican Gulf with dried herbs and spices and baked with a thick knob of butter in a red-hot cast iron pan until it looked jet black. An occult delicacy.

Today it is the fish market in Zwijndrecht and Prudhomme has been dead for five years. Today I fry a fish jet black and all neighbors are welcome. No Justice, No Food. Black Fish Matter.

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