Lamu, KENYA: The County Government of Lamu has held this year’s fourth edition of the annual Lamu fishing competition which has seen fishermen from various parts of the county displaying their fishing skills that have enabled them to stay in the business.
The Lamu fishing competition was introduced for the first time in 2014 with a major aim being to motivate Lamu fishermen to embrace the trade which is among key economic activities for the residents in the region.
This year’s event was conducted at the Lamu seafront area and was fully sponsored by the Lamu County government under the Department of Fisheries, Livestock and Cooperative Development.
This year’s fishing competition theme is ‘Promoting Sustainable Fishery in Lamu County.’
The event provided an opportunity for fishermen and other fisheries stakeholder to bond.
There was also an investors’ forum where various stakeholders were able to exchange ideas on how best to develop the fisheries sector in Lamu.
The event cost the county government Sh 1.9 million.
Addressing the public during the event on Tuesday, Lamu County Executive for Fisheries, Livestock and Cooperative Development Abdu Godana called on Lamu fishermen to embrace fishing on a large scale rather than concentrating on fishing only for subsistence use.
He said the county government of Lamu has embarked on a plan that would ensure the fishing industry is expanded.
He said as a department, they are committed to empowering the fishermen in the county with modern fishing gear, engines among other facilities to enable them fully explore the trade.
“As we mark the fourth edition of the fishing competition today, I want to assure all fishermen in Lamu that we will do all we can to support you. I am aware that most of the fishermen in Lamu are in the business only for subsistence but our target is to move from subsistence to large-scale fishing for commercial purposes,” said Mr Godana.
On his side, Lamu County Director for Fisheries, Livestock and Cooperative Development, Salim Bunu stressed the need for Lamu fishermen to embark on deep sea fishing for commercial purposes rather than fishing on the shallow waters which only satisfies their subsistence.
He termed the fishing competition as an important event in the calendar of their department as it boosts the morale of fishermen.
“What I have witnessed today during the fishing completion is a clear proof that the ocean in Lamu has a lot of resources which, if well tapped, can greatly uplift the stand of living of the locals here. As county government, we will ensure you have the right equipment,” said Mr Bunu.
The 2017 fishing competition is described as the best of all competitions since its inception.
The event attracted 55 participants with their boats drawn from Kiunga, Kiwayu, Kizingitini, Faza, Pate, Amu and Shella areas.
This year’s competition saw the biggest and heaviest fish caught with 44 kilograms compared to last year where the heaviest fish caught weighed 32 kilograms.
The top winners received cash awards ranging from Sh 100,000 to Sh 50,000 together with certificates and trophies.