Subscribe to our free daily newsletters
. Earth Science News .




Subscribe to our free daily newsletters



WATER WORLD
As oceans empty, Kenya fishermen must adapt or disappear
By Fran BLANDY
Pate Island, Kenya (AFP) Nov 30, 2016


Ahmed Ali Mohamed snorkels over sea grass and coral, keeping an eye out for different fish species darting through the waters below him.

But his job is not to catch the fish -- as his family has done for generations -- instead he only counts them.

Mohamed is one of the first former fishermen to be retrained as a ranger monitoring the health of the reef off Pate Island in southeastern Kenya, where fortunes are dwindling as fast as the fish in the sea.

Pate's fishermen have plied the inshore waters for generations but must now adapt to survive as -- like coastal people around the world -- they learn the hard way that the ocean is not an endless resource.

"The community's population has grown with time and we all depend on the ocean alone for a living," said Mohamed, 45, a former lobster fisherman.

"Before people would go into the waters and come back with a big catch of fish... but now they don't even come back with enough to feed their own families."

The stakes are high for the island, the largest in the idyllic Lamu archipelago.

Fishing became the main source of income after tourism collapsed following a spate of kidnappings by pirates in 2011 and an increase of attacks by Shabaab militants on the mainland.

Community leaders fear the effects of worsening poverty as the fish run out in this mainly Muslim region which neighbours Somalia and has suffered generations of marginalisation by successive governments.

"When it comes to a point where people have nothing to do, no income, (and) increase in poverty, people will have no option but to end up joining bad groups like Al-Shabaab," said Atwas Swabir, the chairman of Pate's marine reserve.

- Fishermen target reefs -

Poverty is already entrenched. On the mangrove-fringed island, electricity only reached the torpid fishing village of Faza two months ago. Dozens of children loiter on the shore while donkeys nibble at flotsam in the water and scrawny, diseased cats yowl for scraps when the fishermen come in.

Swabir says many of these children will end up as fishermen "whether they like it or not" so finding new ways to make fishing sustainable without destroying the environment for future generations is essential.

"Fishing is not just an income generating activity, it is a lifestyle," said local fisheries director Kamalu Sharif. "You cannot remove a fisherman and take him to the farm."

Close to where Mohamed takes careful notes on an underwater writing slate, traditional wooden dhows work in tandem to drag a large tight-mesh net over the reef scooping up everything in its wake, including young fish, and breaking off bits of sensitive coral.

The reefs teem with fish who are lured there for breeding, making them an easy and vulnerable target for fishermen.

"That is where breeding happens, that is where (fish) lay their eggs. The fishermen are directly targeting those reefs," said Juliet King, an advisor to Kenya's Northern Rangelands Trust (NRT), a conservation organisation.

The reef ranger programme, funded by the US-based Nature Conservancy, is aimed at helping fishermen manage their resources better, using a method akin to crop rotation to encourage sequential fishing of the reef giving different areas a chance to recover.

However, the long-term plan is for fishermen to move away from the sensitive reef entirely. Currently, they only use a fraction of the more than 200 nautical miles of waters available to them.

"We are trying to encourage (the fishermen) to extend their fishing range to slightly deeper waters and in less exploited areas and that way we will be tackling this big problem of overfishing," said George Maina, Marine Project Coordinator for the Nature Conservancy.

Lending the project more urgency is the nearby construction of a major new port, a boon for development that spells doom for the livelihoods of around 4,000 fishermen if they remain inshore, say local officials.

Further out, they can catch larger, more valuable fish, but that requires ice for storage and a market at which to sell them.

- New methods, bigger earnings -

Testing a new initiative, dhows set off from Pate at night with ice boxes on board. In the deeper waters beyond the reef, they will fish with a hook and line instead of nets.

The next day, the prized catch of snapper, tuna and emperor fish is whisked to a nearby hotel -- which has rented a freezer to the fishermen -- before being sent on to upmarket restaurants and lodges across Kenya.

Taking part in this pilot programme, Mohamed Mwanaheri, 40, says he has more than doubled his earnings.

"People need to be informed so that the community can know there is a ready market (and) change their outdated fishing methods," he said.

Fuzz Dyer, an advisor to NRT and the owner of the hotel where the fish is frozen, reckoned Pate's fishermen could land 400 kilogrammes (880 pounds) of high-quality fish a day if they are helped to change their methods and access the market.

The alternative, Dyer warned, is disaster with overfishing leaving the reef barren.

"People are just raping the bottom of the ocean," he said.


Comment on this article using your Disqus, Facebook, Google or Twitter login.


Thanks for being here;
We need your help. The SpaceDaily news network continues to grow but revenues have never been harder to maintain.

With the rise of Ad Blockers, and Facebook - our traditional revenue sources via quality network advertising continues to decline. And unlike so many other news sites, we don't have a paywall - with those annoying usernames and passwords.

Our news coverage takes time and effort to publish 365 days a year.

If you find our news sites informative and useful then please consider becoming a regular supporter or for now make a one off contribution.

SpaceDaily Contributor
$5 Billed Once


credit card or paypal
SpaceDaily Monthly Supporter
$5 Billed Monthly


paypal only

.


Related Links
Water News - Science, Technology and Politics






Share this article via these popular social media networks
del.icio.usdel.icio.us DiggDigg RedditReddit GoogleGoogle

Previous Report
WATER WORLD
Record coral kill-off on Great Barrier Reef
Sydney (AFP) Nov 29, 2016
A mass bleaching event on the Great Barrier Reef this year killed more corals than ever before, scientists said Tuesday, sounding the alarm over the delicate ecosystem. The 2,300-kilometre (1,400-mile) long reef - the world's biggest - suffered its most severe bleaching in recorded history, due to warming sea temperatures during March and April, with the northern third bearing the brunt. ... read more


WATER WORLD
Ukraine moves giant new safety dome over Chernobyl

UT professor develops algorithm to improve online mapping of disaster areas

Ukraine to unveil giant new safety dome over Chernobyl

13 held over China power plant collapse as toll hits 74: media

WATER WORLD
Metamaterials open up entirely new possibilities in optics

Creating new physical properties in materials

Researchers explore 2-D materials to devices faster, smaller and efficient

New tool enables viewing spectrum from specific structures within samples

WATER WORLD
Crisis looms as half of Iraq's Mosul goes without water

Glowing crystals can detect, cleanse contaminated drinking water

Record coral kill-off on Great Barrier Reef

Toxic 'marine snow' can sink quickly, persist at ocean depths

WATER WORLD
A reindeer's perilous journey in Swedish Lapland

West Antarctic ice shelf breaking up from the inside out

American scientists discover the first Antarctic ground beetle

After 5-year study, scientists say unchecked Arctic melting may bring irreversible change

WATER WORLD
Researchers produce map of farming households across the world

'I feel like I'm being exploited': Deliveroo riders seek recognition

Danish supermarket offers fresh take on expired food

1.4 bn jobs depend on pollinators: report

WATER WORLD
Groundwater helium level could signal potential risk of earthquake

What's up with Madagascar

Two dead in Italy storms

Gulf state Qatar hit by flooding

WATER WORLD
Fidel Castro's military forays in Africa

US seeks UN arms embargo against South Sudan

Uganda nabs suspect in $120 mn fake arms deal

Africa waits and wonders on Trump's foreign policy

WATER WORLD
The role of physical environment in the 'broken windows' theory

Scientist uses 'dinosaur crater' rocks, prehistoric teeth to track ancient humans

Genes for speech may not be limited to humans

Traumatic stress shapes the brains of boys and girls in different ways




Memory Foam Mattress Review
Newsletters :: SpaceDaily :: SpaceWar :: TerraDaily :: Energy Daily
XML Feeds :: Space News :: Earth News :: War News :: Solar Energy News






The content herein, unless otherwise known to be public domain, are Copyright 1995-2017 - Space Media Network. All websites are published in Australia and are solely subject to Australian law and governed by Fair Use principals for news reporting and research purposes. AFP, UPI and IANS news wire stories are copyright Agence France-Presse, United Press International and Indo-Asia News Service. ESA news reports are copyright European Space Agency. All NASA sourced material is public domain. Additional copyrights may apply in whole or part to other bona fide parties. All articles labeled "by Staff Writers" include reports supplied to Space Media Network by industry news wires, PR agencies, corporate press officers and the like. Such articles are individually curated and edited by Space Media Network staff on the basis of the report's information value to our industry and professional readership. Advertising does not imply endorsement, agreement or approval of any opinions, statements or information provided by Space Media Network on any Web page published or hosted by Space Media Network. Privacy Statement