Lapsset rules out monetary compensation for lamu fishermen affected by dredging

Lapsset rules out monetary compensation for lamu fishermen affected by dredging

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Fishermen in Lamu . PHOTO: COURTESY

Lamu, KENYA: Lapsset Corridor Development Authority Director General Silvester Kasuku has ruled out full monetary cash compensation for fishermen who have been affected as a result of the dredging activities at the first three berth sites for the Lapsset.

Over 7000 fishermen who have been affected by the ongoing dredging activities, will instead benefit from capacity building and training as part of a compensation package for those whose trade has been affected.

The construction of the first berths at the Lapsset is ongoing and as a result of the dredging exercise, many fishermen cannot go on their fishing expeditions since the surrounding Indian ocean water is too dirty.

Activities at the LAPSSET have led to the closure of major fishing channels in the Indian Ocean,a move that has elicited complaints from fishermen in Lamu who have been demanding compensation from the ‘closure of their livelihoods’.

However, speaking in Lamu, LAPSSET Corridor Development Authority Director General Silvester Kasuku ruled out full monetary cash transfers to the affected fishermen.

Kasuku said it was impractical to compensate the affected fishermen with full cash transfers since it wasn’t economically viable.

He added that the Lapsset authority was instead planning to build a fishing port and establish modern fish storage and processing zones in the region.

Kasuku said they were also intending to equip all the affected fishermen with modern fishing gear and equipment and have them trained on how to explore deep sea fishing.

“Practical capacity building will be more transformative in terms of evolving the cottage fishing industries that are already in Lamu into full scale fish processing export industries in which the fishermen can reap better rewards.Lack of infrastructure has rendered many of the Lamu fishermen to only rely on small scale fishing for subsistence living.By doing so,we believe we will have also provided them with a source of gainful employment,” said Kasuku.

“This will change with the proposed fishing port, which will be part of the larger Lamu Port. I am confident that building a fishing port and creating capacity for local fishermen will enable them to venture into the deep sea to exploit the rich exclusive economic zone,” he said.

According to the Environmental and Social Impact Plan and the Resettlement Action Plan, the affected fishermen were to take home a compensation package of at least Kshs 950 million.

He said the decision to capacity build the affected fishermen was reached by a joint taskforce of Lapsset Authority, national and county government officials.

County CEC for Fisheries Grace Mburu said the affected fishermen would still get financial aid with respect to capacity building and called on all fishermen to embrace it while terming it a long term solution.

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