Kilifi fishermen reject proposal for restricted fishing areas

Fishermen in Likoni PHOTO COURTESY

Kilifi, KENYA: A section of fishermen and fishmongers in Kilifi have opposed the idea of having restricted areas in the ocean for fish production.

The area referred to as tengefu is set to be prohibited for fishing activities  for specific periods of time.

Speaking during an exclusive interview with Baraka FM on Monday in Kilifi,  Beach Management Unit (BMU) vice Chairman  Henry Mzungu,  said that the idea has more disadvantages than advantages to fishermen and mongers.

“The fishing ground is the same from Kuruwitu to Watamu and ‘Tengefu’ will limit fishermen who rely on fishing for their daily lives,” said Mzungu.

“For example if it happens that ‘Tengefu’ is out of bounds for years, where will we carrying out our activities for the ten years? We will die poor,” he added.

He said they would be colliding with each other on their landing sites extending from Wesa in bofa to Kuchi in Maya Island and Kichoka –Kidundu (Mnarani BMU) yet the resources in the ocean are destined to benefit everyone.

He said they are afraid that some people with vested interests could have approached the BMUs which are demanding for the creation of the area, which will be a no fishing ground.

“Foreign fishermen are fortified with modern fishing equipment compared to us and they go up to the deep sea to do fishing,” he added.

“If we restrict some areas for fishing we will be locking out them out and the local fishermen will suffer,” he said.

However, former Kilifi Central BMU AbdulAziz Nasir said the beneficiaries will be the tourism industry and the department of fisheries, but the fishermen will always find themselves on the wrong side of the law for trespass.

“Tourists will come to watch the fish but fishermen will be charged in court for breaking the law and because there are weak organizations fighting for fishermen they will be jailed,” he said.

Kilifi County director of fisheries John Mwangi said the idea was given to them but it is upon the BMU and the community to decide.

“It is a management measure where the community is involved to identify the area in the sea where the BMU and fisheries will be in charge,” said Mwangi.