Fisherfolk in Lamu to reap more from sustainable tuna fishing | WWF Kenya

Fisherfolk in Lamu to reap more from sustainable tuna fishing

Posted on
06 September 2018
Fisherfolk in the Lamu archipelago are set to benefit from small-scale tuna fishing following proposed interventions by WWF-Kenya in partnership with International Pole and Line Foundation alongside the National and County Government fisheries agencies. The interventions to be rolled out among the members of the Amu and Shella Beach Management Units (BMUs) range from promoting sustainable and innovative artisanal fishing technologies and practices,  small-scale value addition, capacity building on post-harvest reduction, fish quality and safety as well as provision of market linkages to the profitable tuna fish products. In addition, the two groups will be supported in incubating and financing coastal enterprises by the fisher-folk in order to help them diversify their sources of income and livelihoods.

Fishing is the main economic activities for the local communities in Lamu.  There are over 5000 fishers in Lamu County, who are mainly artisanal. The fisherfolk enumerated some of the challenges that they were facing. These among others include limited capacity to venture in deep sea fishing, lack of cold storage facilities, and limited capacity for value addition as well as lack of markets for their products.  They complained of exploitation by middle men (fish dealers) who usually offer low prices for their fish and fishery products.

Over the years, WWF and other key partners have been investing and supporting initiatives aimed at bringing about sustainable fisheries management and improved governance in Kenya.  WWF supported the development of the Lamu Integrated artisanal tuna fisheries strategy which is at various stages of implementation. Speaking in Amu during a recent stakeholder consultative workshop on artisanal tuna fisheries development in Lamu County, Edward Kimakwa, reiterated WWF’s commitment to support sustainable and profitable small-scale tuna fisheries in Kenya and the entire South West Indian Ocean region. Through the WWF-Kenya Coastal Kenya Programme, WWF will work closely with the fisherfolk in the project site to promote responsible and sustainable fishing technologies, mobilize resources to provide cold storage facilities (mainly deep freezers), establish tuna filleting infrastructural support including filleting equipment, packaging and storage as well as facilitating market linkages and access for the tuna fish products. This would greatly help transform this sub-sector from artisanal nature to business oriented fishing enterprises that would generate more revenue to the government, income to local communities and employment opportunities for the youth and women.

The Chairman of the International Pole and Line Foundation (IPNLF) Mr. John Burton informed the meeting that he was on a scoping mission to have a better understanding of the artisanal tuna fishery in Lamu. The IPNLF will be partnering with WWF, the Kenya Government and the County of Lamu to build the capacity of small-scale fishers on pole & line as well as handline fishing technologies. Initially the Foundation will supply some fishing gear to a select number of fishers in the pilot site. This would ensure that small-scale fishers have access to quality tuna catch that is harvested in a more sustainable way for improved stock sustainability and profitable income to the local fishing communities. Also in attendance was the Director of Fisheries International Pole & Line Foundation Mr. Martin Purves.

The Director General of Kenya Fisheries Service (KeFS), Mrs. Susan Imende and the Deputy Governor of Lamu County Mr Abdulhakim Aboud Bwana expressed the commitment of the Kenya Government to improving marine fisheries governance and management to ensure that fish stocks are well managed for the benefit of the country and the local fishing communities in Lamu archepelago.  They thanked WWF and the International Pole & Line Foundation for the initiative and promised to provide the necessary enabling environment and support to ensure successful implementation of the interventions on the ground.

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