December 1, 2023

Fishermen Decry of Low Fish Catch

Fishmongers waiting for fish at Old ferry in Kilifi. (Photo By The COAST Cameraman)

By The COAST reporter


Kilifi County fishermen are registering low fish catch due to strong winds and ever-changing sea waves being experienced in the Indian Ocean.

This ocean phenomenon is greatly affecting fishing activities that is a major income earner for the community living along the coastline.

Early last week, the Meteorological Department issued an advisory to fishermen and other sea users in Mombasa, Kilifi, Kwale and Lamu to avoid venturing into the deep due to the extremely changing weather.

The strong winds and waves of more than 30knots {15.4 meter per second} have affected the coastal Indian ocean since on 11th July and is expected to strengthen to more than 40 knots.

The wave heights are likely to be more than 2.5 meters over the coastal waters, reads the meteorological statement.

Beach management unity {BMU} officials have reported hard times for the past one month as the fishermen take home decimal catch despite toiling day and night.

There are about 17 BMU’s in the County stretching from Mtwapa to Ngomeni.

A fisherman from Shee Hamis landing site at Roka Maweni, Gambo Kanyoe said he had halted his fishing activities due to fears of capsizing in the troubled waters.

“We depend on fishing for our daily income but for the last one month our business has dropped sharply because of the escalating strong winds and waves.”

According to him they had been taking home more than Sh4,000 daily before this escalation of strong winds that has made it impossible even to get Sh200.

Kiti Mwasaha, Roka BMU representative, said the use of traditional fishing gears was a hindrance to venturing for deep sea fishing.

“We have been facing challenges of putting food on the table and most of us are unable to net three kilograms from the previous of fish 150 kilograms per day before the onset of winds and waves.”

The unpredictable weather has dealt a blow to more than 4,000 fishermen who eke their livelihoods from the sea resources to support their families.

According to Meteorological report the strong winds and waves can cause poor visibility, capsize small boats and threaten the safety not only fishermen but also ocean-goers engaging in recreational activities.

A fish trader, Badi Hussein said owing to the shortage of fish, he has been forced to sell a kilogram of white snapper and rabbit fish at Sh450 after purchasing the same at Sh320 from the fishermen.

Another fisherman Jackson Mrima said there was need to diversify to other activities due to the depletion of fish stocks, the surging number fishermen and the changing of weather patterns triggered by climate change.

“There are more than 4,000 fishermen in the County and those are the registered ones under BMU’s but there are a big fishing out there unregistered,” he said adding that to survive in the industry they would require modern fishing gears to go deep in the ocean.

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