The vampire fish

Directed by Jean Queyrat – Kenya

On the seas once crossed by Sinbad the sailor, the Bajun people have practiced an extraordinary technique for centuries: remora fishing.

The remora, a fish whose head contains a small suction cup, attaches itself to turtles, rays and sharks for nourishment. Legend has it that the remora sucks its victims’ blood to tire them out, hence the nickname, “ vampire fish ”.

Alphan and Aruni are Bajun fishermen. They live north of the Kenyan cost, on one of the islands in the Lamu archipelago: Kiwayu. During the first days of Ramadan, they get ready to sail out to sea in their traditional boats. From sunrise to sunset, they can neither eat nor drink. The only way they can survive is to fish along the coast, using vampire fish, whose progress they follow underwater thanks to a nylon thread placed in the remora’s tail. In the intense heat, the long chase begins, until the remora finds a victim.

Thanks to their precious ally, Alphan and Aruni will soon be able to share their excellent catch with their families, at their evening meals during Ramadan.