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14 Mar 2022

EastAfrican (Kenya)

Foreign fishing vessels allegedly fishing in areas designated for artisanal fisherfolk along Kenyan coast, depriving them of livelihood

"Low tide for local fishermen as trawlers harvest in high seas"

For artisanal fishermen at the Kenyan coast, this is one of the worst times for their trade. A cocktail of hurdles muddy the waters they travel as they make a livelihood. When they are not worrying about being pushed out of business by foreign-owned trawlers that are encroaching on their territory, they are grappling with government-imposed safety rules that virtually bar them from venturing into the ocean...

Issuance of foreign fishing licences by Kenya has always been done under a cloud of secrecy so much so that efforts by The EastAfrican to get data on vessels permitted into the fishing zone by the government were thwarted severally by the Fisheries Department and senior maritime officials...

Now, local fishermen at the Kenyan Coast have expressed fears of being locked out of fishing in the Indian Ocean, if the government imposes what they call stringent safety rules, arguing they (the rules) will create room for more foreign vessels to exclusively and unfavourably exploit fish in the deep sea...Local fishermen, especially those within the northern bank stretch of the Lamu Indian Ocean waters, say foreign trawlers believed to be from China, Spain and South Korea have been spotted on the shallow waters, particularly at night.