Fishermen Complain Over Depletion of Marine Resources

The Nation (Nairobi)

Nairobi

Fishermen in Kilifi District have protested over the depletion of marine resources and destruction of fishing grounds by trawlers in the area.

The residents They accused the trawlers for operating inside the restricted 10 Kilometers nautical miles in the Indian Ocean.

Kilifi Central Division Co-operative Society chairman Emmanuel Yaah said that the trawlers had destroyed fishing nets set by the local fishermen.

He said: "The decline in the catch has impoverished the local fishermen and the community in general. If this is not stopped, then the Government's programme to alleviate poverty in the area would fail."

Mr Yaah said the trawlers also killed the dugongs and sea turtles indiscriminately. He said the deaths of creatures was high during breeding season.

"These trawlers use banned fishing gears, nets with small holes that catch both the big and small fish apart from destroying the breeding grounds in the ocean," he said.

Meanwhile, the fishermen complained against a senior fisheries officer in the area whom they accused of harassing them and demanding bribes.

The more than 100 fishermen, who peacefully demonstrated from the District Fisheries Officers to the Kilifi headquarters, demanded the immediate removal of the officer.

They claimed that fisheries officers in the area allowed fishermen from a neighbouring country do fishing using the banned nets.

The fishermen said the officers had dissolved the local Beach Management Committees in order to divide the local fishermen so that he could continue harassing them while they allowed in the foreigners.

He narrated an incident whereby the members of the local Beach Management Committee arrested some foreign fishermen at Bofa area and took them to the Kilifi police station the fisheries officer went and asked the police officers not to charge them.

The fishermen rejected the fisheries officers saying they did not want to work with him saying his continuous stay in Kilifi might cause clashes between them and the foreign fishermen doing fishing in the area.

When contacted for comments the District Fisheries Officer Mr J. K. Wanyoike was said to have traveled outside the district.

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