Lamu fishermen want fishing ban lifted

By Regina Manyara

Fishermen in Lamu County are urging the government to lift the dawn to dusk fishing curfew to cushion them from further loses.

The fishermen argue that before the curfew, they could fish a minimum of 800 kilograms of fish at night which has now reduced to 200 kilograms.

The curfew was a stop gap measure in the wake of rising insecurity cases along the coastline that lead to kidnapping of foreign tourists.

They argue that since 2007 their earnings have been dwindling despite the rising demand for fish.

In 2011 as per the fisheries data, Lamu County recorded 2,286 metric tonnes of fish valued at 225 million shillings while in 2013 they recorded 2, 298 metric tons valued at 318 million shillings.

The government imposed a ban on night fishing since 2010 after the reported kidnapping of foreign tourists in Lamu.

Areas worst affected by the fishing ban include Kiiwayu, Mkokoni, Kiunga, Faza and other islands in Lamu East.

Among those who are still suffering to date are fishermen near the Kenya Somali border.

According to Ahmed Islam, a fisherman and resident of Ishakani, security has improved in the area and the ban should be lifted to allow fishermen to rebuild the fish landing site.

The Lamu County government has pledged the construction of several landing sites to ease transportation of fish as well as a storage facility in the affected areas.

The fishermen can only hope that their cry on lifting of the curfew will be heard and acted upon.