A crisis in the water is decimating this once-booming fishing town

TOMBWA, Angola – His ancestors were Portuguese colonialists who settled on this otherworldly stretch of coast, wedged between a vast desert and the southern Atlantic. They came looking for the one thing this barren region had in abundance: fish.

By the time Mario Carceija Santos was getting into the fishing business half a century later, in the 1990s, Angola had won independence and the town of Tombwa was thriving. There were 20 fish factories strung along the bay, a constellation of churches and schools, a cinema hall built in art deco, and, in the central plaza, massive drying racks for the tons upon tons of fish hauled out of the sea.

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