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Kwale distributes modern fishing vessels to boost artisanal fisheries

Fisherfolks in the coastal county of Kwale have received a major boost after the county government distributed 18 state-of-the-art fishing boats and other equipment in a bid to boost artisanal fisheries.

The modern high-tech fishing vessels made of fiber which has a higher level of endurance than wood were issued by Governor Fatuma Achani at an elaborate ceremony held at the Shimoni fishing village in Lunga Lunga sub-county.

The Governor who was accompanied by Lunga Lunga MP Mangale Chiforomodo presented the outboard motors which have an eight-crew and 1.5-ton capacity and other fishing equipment to 18 Beach Management Units (BMUs) active along the South Coast.

At the same event, the Governor also issued certificates to 76 trained coxswains (persons who steer a boat) among them four women.

The coastal county boss has expressed hope that the new fishing equipment would increase the production of fish in the region.

She said the devolved unit will work with all the stakeholders in the maritime sector to uplift the lives of fishing communities and generate revenues for the county.

Before handing over the fiberglass boats to the beneficiaries Achani stressed that the initiative was part of her administration’s efforts to boost youth employment and food and nutrition security.

Governor Achani says with the modern boats and diving kits local fishermen would feel safer in stormy weather thus improving their daily catches.

Achani says Kwale county government wants its fishermen to venture into the country’s Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ) by equipping them with the latest deep-sea vessels.

“With these fiberglass boats, safety gears, and fish handling equipment, our fishermen can now undertake their fishing activities in deep waters, hence increasing their daily catches,” said Achani.

The acquisition of the new modern fishing equipment was made under the Kenya Marine Fisheries and Socio-Economic Development (KEMFSED) program.

The KEMFSED project is implemented by the national government through the State Department for Blue Economy and Fisheries with support from the World Bank.

Governor Achani says the donations are expected to increase income, enhance the standard of living in the artisanal fishing communities, and make fishing attractive and seamless to youths and women.

Achani said other plans are afoot to improve the industry such as provision of cold room facilities and equipment for processing sardines to reduce post-harvest losses which have been experienced by many fishing communities in the area.

“Empowering the local fisher folk through the issuance of advanced fishing equipment and gears is key to improving the livelihood of our people and growing the county’s economy,” she said.

She added “the devolved government will also be building modern fish markets and fish landing sites for food security and revenue generation,”.

She appealed to the benefitting BMUs to make judicious use of the fishing equipment so that more fisher folks would also be accorded the same in the near future.

Achani says the devolved government is out to bolster the local fish production, create jobs, and empower the fisher folks as well as promote the availability of fresh fish at affordable prices.

She said her administration is turning its focus on the blue economy sector by distributing fishing boats with nets and outboard motors, cooler boxes, flares, bond liners, GPS gadgets, life rafts, lifesaving rings and life jacket floats to fishermen in a bid to turn fishing into a profitable venture.

“Kwale has access to the Indian Ocean and it is important that we take advantage of this maritime resource for economic benefits,” said Achani.

On his part, MP Chiforomodo has welcomed the efforts by the county government in turning around the fortunes of the once-neglected fishing industry in the coastal region.

The MP says the gesture would enable the beneficiaries to become fully-fledged fishermen with the capacity to undertake commercial fishing and achieve the aim of economic empowerment.

“The new fishery equipment and facilities will help boost the livelihoods of local fisher folks as the fisheries sector is the main source of income for people living along the coastline,” he said.

The legislator decried that for decades lack of fishing equipment such as fishing vessels and trawlers affected local fishermen by reducing their production output and limiting their ability to locate and catch fish efficiently.

By Hussein Abdullahi

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