Fishermen affected by Lapsset urged to venture into seaweed farming

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Lamu, KENYA: Fishermen in Lamu have been asked to consider venturing into seaweed farming as an alternative livelihood especially after the majority of the fishing channels were closed off due to dredging activities at the Lamu port-Lapsset.

At least 7000 fishermen will no longer be able to carry on with the venture after many of the traditional fishing channels in the Indian Ocean were closed off due to the ongoing dredging activities at the Lapsset.

The fishing sector in Lamu has also been adversely affected by an active night fishing ban forbidding fishermen from carrying out the trade at night due to security concerns caused by Al Shabaab attacks in the region.

Speaking in Lamu on Sunday, Kenya Red Cross Secretary General Abbas Gullet said for the development of any sort to be achieved, there is the need for locals to arm themselves with alternative survival skills which include learning new ways to make livelihoods instead of wallowing in poverty.

Gullet said fishermen and locals in the region have a chance to better their lives through seaweed farming which can be easily and comfortably done in Lamu with handsome returns.

He cited the county of Kwale where locals were milking in millions through a similar venture and asked Lamu locals to change gears and try their luck on the same.

“The state of the fishing sector here is not at its best as before. There are so many factors that have played a part to bring it down but the good news is that something can be done to turn things around.It’s time for people to try out seaweed farming. People of Shimoni in Kwale can tell you just how fruitful that venture is. Look at Zanzibar, the country makes millions annually just through seaweed farming. Its time for fishermen to consider this as an alternative livelihood” said Gullet.

Commenting on the situation, Lamu East MP Athman Shariff asked the national government to ensure all fishermen affected by the Lapsset receive all the necessary assistance to smoothly transition into other ventures and be able to continue earning a living.

The MP asked fishermen in the region to be flexible and open to changes and thereafter be able to adapt to alternative livelihood generating ventures like seaweed farming.

“The fishermen here have been affected by insecurity and also by the upcoming new port Lapsset. Basically the fishing sector is dead and as a result, livelihoods have immensely suffered. The government must understand the situation and step in to enable these people to move on with their lives even if it means transitioning into new ventures. They can’t do it on their own since any move means finances which they don’t have,” said Shariff.

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