ALERT ON ACRES OF DEAD FISH IN THE SEA
Friday, February 27, 2004
COASTWEEK / Kenya
By EDMUND KWENA and WILSON KIMANI
Unlicenced trawlers are destroying marine life in Malindi – sweeping
everything in their wake and destroying corals, sea weed, fish
eggs, turtles and Malindi herrings, says Cooper Motors Corporation
Holding boss Martin Foster.
Mr Foster, who is a sport fisher, said the trawlers valued prawns
more than other marine life and hastily threw away anything else caught in their nets.
In an interview with Coast Express, Mr Forster said that in some
cases local scuba divers were being paid by businessmen to dive for lobsters which are then
exported to Europe.
"The problem is that these divers catch everything they find under
the water, regardless of whether the lobsters are too young or if are
nesting," he said.
He warned that unless the government stepped in to regulate
fishing, the area around Malindi would soon be without marine resources. "This will be very
unfortunate," he said.
In October last year, sport fishermen competing in the area were
shocked to see "acres and acres" of dead Malindi Herrings which
had been thrown away by trawlers.
"These people do not pay taxes and the damage they cause is too
high," Mr Foster said.
When reached for a comment, a senior Ministry of Fisheries and
Livestock Development official said the government was doing everything possible to stop
depletion of marine life by trawlers.
The Director of Fisheries, Mrs Nancy Gitonga, said that to control
trawling, the government had reduced the number of trawlers from eight to four in the past five
"The Ministry is finalising plans to buy a surveillance boat that will
patrol coastal waters to stop illegal fishing," she said.
"The Fisheries Department is doing everything possible to protect
marine life. Those saying there are many trawlers along our Coast are not telling the
truth, she said.