Lamu, KENYA: The county government of Lamu plans to reclaim and improve fish landing sites in the region as a way to revive the now dwindling fishing sector.
Fishing is a major economic earner for Lamu County after tourism both of which have suffered immensely under the weight of insecurity caused by Al Shabaab attacks in some parts of the region.
The sector has been adversely affected by an active night fishing ban imposed in 2011 forbidding fishermen from carrying out the trade at night due to security concerns caused by Al Shabaab attacks in the region.
The ban has grounded activities in Lamu’s major fishing hubs like Kiunga and Ishakani on the Lamu-Somalia border.
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.
These and many more factors have continued to hold the fishing sector hostage,a situation that has seen the economic scales of Lamu lowered than ever before.
However speaking when he met fishermen at Mtangawanda in Lamu East,Lamu governor Fahim Twaha said the county had allocated enough resources towards the improvement of fish landing sites so as to boost the little that is left of the fishing sector in the region.
The move includes construction of cooler shades that will be used by fishermen going about their activities.
Lamu County has a total of 37 fish landing sites all of which are with respective fisher villages and are located adjacent to the marine environment where the fishing takes place.
Some of these landing sites are however said to have been grabbed by individuals rendering the fishermen without a defined location to hold and preserve their catch as they seek markets.
Twaha said the county was also working towards the revival and growth of the sector by ensuring its propelled to attain international standards.
“We are in the process of initiating plans that will ensure the condition of our landing sites across Lamu County is improved. We want to construct various structures and shades in all major landing sites especially in villages where night fishing is taking place. We will also build toilets in those landing sites. Our fishermen conducting their night fishing ventures can spend their nights in those shades,” said Twaha.
Twaha said the lack of modern infrastructure was crippling the sector, even more, adding that the county plans to purchase more sophisticated equipment to enable fishermen to explore deep sea fishing and improve their general living standards.
“The main challenge with our Lamu fishermen is that most of them don’t have the proper equipment to enable them to explore deep sea fishing. Many still do the small-scale fishing which is mostly for subsistence use. We shall provide them with modern equipment so they can try out the high seas,” said Twaha.
Speaking at the event, Lamu East MP Athman Shariff urged leaders in the country to support the Blue Economy Initiative by President Uhuru Kenyatta so as to empower fishermen and other groups.
“Under the Blue Economy initiative, our fishermen here will be empowered and encouraged to undertake entrepreneurial fishing to make the sector attain international recognition and generally grow the economies,” said Sharif.