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Abstract

Fish as a foodstuff of high nutritional value is considerably perishable. It must be transformed in order to improve the duration of its conservation. Drying and smoking are the most popular processes to transform fish in northern Cameroon. These steps usually affect the quality of the finished products. In order to improve the quality of locally transformed fish in a handmade manner and to typify such activity, an inquiry was conducted in three fishing ponds in the Northern part of Cameroon with 160 fishermen and fish transformers. It appears that the technique of transforming fish in those cited main fishing ponds in Northern Cameroon vary at the level of preprocessing and dehydration phases of fresh fish. Smoking done in a traditional oven follows cleaning (4.1% in the Adamawa Region and 33.0% in the North and Far North Region) or flaking of the fish (95.9% in Adamawa and 61.1% in the North and the Far North Region). Then, come emptying (95.9% in Adamawa and 61.1% in the North and Far North), cutting into small pieces (11.1% in the Far North) or cracking (82.6% in the Adamawa Region). At the end, washing (95.9% in the Adamawa and 72.2% in the North and Far North), spinning (100%), smoking (100%) and then packaging of the fish (100%) complete the process. All these operations are conducted without equipment for protection, on uncleaned surfaces and with irregularly washed materials with clean water. The drying process done on bare ground on top of a drying stall is a constant step in the Far North (54.9%) and North (28.6%) regions and scarce in the Adamawa region (9.3%). A particular emphasis should be laid on hygienic measures to ensure a sanitary quality of dry fish at the end of both smoking and drying processes. 

Keywords: Processing, smoking, drying, Northern Cameroon, Transformation