Lamu, KENYA: Lamu leaders have appealed to the national government to lift a ban barring fishermen in the county from conducting their trade at night.
The ban has lasted five years after it was imposed by the government in 2011 following a spate of fishermen and tourist abductions by the Alshabaab terror group.
Fishermen however say the ban has greatly affected the trade arguing that the trade is more productive at night when they record high catches than in the afternoons.
Over 70% of native islanders in Lamu depend on fishing for survival.
Speaking in Lamu on Monday,Faza ward rep Abbas Famau said unrealistic measures by the government including the ban and the recent announcement requiring fisher people to carry their national IDs on their deep sea fishing sprees were stifling the fisheries sector.
Famau said many families are facing poverty due to such.
He called on the government to instead increase water patrols and have the fishing ban lifted, in order to restore livelihoods and rescue the sector which he said is at the brink of collapsing.
“it’s doing more damage than good.we don’t need such laws that destroy livelihoods.we value our security but we must also eat at the end of the day but all these measures are making matters harder,” said Abbas.
Lamu governor Issa Timamy has asked the county administration to scrap the directive requiring fishermen to carry IDs at sea saying it was a risky affair.
He instead asked that the fishermen be allowed to carry copies of their IDs since the originals can easily be lost or destroyed at sea.
The ban has not been lifted even after President Kenyatta early January said there was need for the fishermen to be allowed to fish at night.
“Fishing is the main source of livelihood for Kiunga resident. As I stand here today, let the fishermen be allowed to fish at night.
“Interior Cabinet Secretary Joseph Nkaissery should cooperate with all leaders and seek a way forward on how security of those fishermen will be guaranteed,” said Mr Kenyatta.