By The COAST Reporter
Fisher communities operating in Kwale, Mombasa, Kilifi, Tana River and Lamu lack title deeds for their fish landing sites.
Apart from that, they lack modern fishing boats and modern equipment for deep sea commercial fishing.
The fishing communities from Vanga in Kwale to Kiunga in Lamu lack storage facilities such as freezers on shores to store their catch.
Again, lack of co-operative societies, well-equipped fish landing sites and Coast Guards’ harassment are some of the problems facing the fishing communities. According to public intellectual at Nautical Advisory Services Andrew Mwangura fishing communities are facing double taxation, nowhere to land and imposition of unexplained taxes.
To boost the fishing industry, the fisherfolks want to undergo fisheries training courses at the Mbegani Fisheries Training Institute in Tanzania and not at the ill-equiped Bandari Maritime Academy.
Majority of them are in dire need of larger, fibreglass boats of about seven to 10 metres, outboard engines and inbuilt freezers.
A number of fishing communities, especially in Kwale County have ventured into seaweed farming with good returns but the marketing aspect of their produce is still wanting and needs value addition components.
They also need the co-operative societies to buy their catch and marketing the same for factory processing, packing and exporting.
Showing their displeasure on how the Kenya Marine and Fisheries Research Institute (KEMFRI) and Kenya Fisheries Services (KFS) are conducting their mandates, the fisherfolks call for their total overhauling for failing to address or propagate their issues at ground levels.
They want the five counties bordering the ocean to set up a co-operative society that will be mandated to offer initial working capital to buy fish.
With their radar on three government agencies – KEMFRI, KFS and State Department for Fisheries and Aquaculture, the fisherfolks express their disgust on their poor relations and lack of involvement of the fishing communities.
For the government agencies to have an impact on the fishing industry, Mwangura saya there is need to review the organizational structure, including operational manuals and procedures of KEMFRI, KFS and Kenya Coast Guards Services (KCGS).
According to him there is also a need of doing away with the land lubbers at KFS and at the State Department for Fisheries.
Andrew Mwangura is a public intellectual at the Nautical Advisory Services