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Lamu County gears itself for a slice of blue economy cake

Image of mangrove logs lying wasted in Mokowe jetty. Lamu county Assembly Majority leader Aboud Babadi has stated that part of Lamu’s blue economy continues to suffer for as long as the ban on mangrove cutting and trading continues. photo by Amenya Ochieng

National government has been urged to increase funding for fisheries and infrastructure development in Lamu County in a bid to actualise the blue economy agenda in the region.
Speaking to KNA in Amu Island over the blue economy debate, Lamu Fisheries Chief Officer, Simon Komu stated that the county government was able to allocate only shs.45 million annually in its county budget for purposes of fisheries development.
The sum, Komu noted, was insufficient for the purpose.
“The amount of money allocated to the fisheries department in Lamu, is negligible in comparison to the expectations we may have of achieving a blue economy status and there needs to be added funding from the national government for building better infrastructure to support the fishing sector,” Komu stated.
He added that the county government had the interest of fishermen at heart as they form a key pillar, but which he observed was in dire need of support for the players to grow their trade from a cottage industry to a global exporter of fish.
“We need more allocation to support the fishermen with fishing trawlers that can access fish in the country’s deep sea that is so far largely unexploited,” the official stated.
He disclosed that a fishing trawler that can accommodate 20 to 40 fishermen costs over shs40 million meaning consumption of the entire county allocation to the subsector without doing anything else.
He added that further improvements need to be made in the cold storage units in Lamu, which he admitted was still under-utilized.
He made these remarks in the light of this week’s blue economy conference which Lamu, being a coastal county bordering the Indian Ocean is a stakeholder.
Also speaking to KNA Director of fisheries Salim Bunu said the county will reflect on ways to improve the fishing sector in the region in light of the immense potential that still goes unexploited.
“Unless we build on the aspirations of Lamu’s fishing sector, we may well continue to stagnate with no one to blame but ourselves if we do not make urgent improvements in the sector,” Bunu stated.
He said that in the light of the blue economy conference, the President’s remarks for a Blue Economy taskforce to facilitate growth of the sector should be actualized and ensure that the county benefits from increased funding to improve the sector.
“Deep sea fishing using trawlers for the fishermen is one part of the blue economy sector, but there is also the issue of transportation and marketing of fish from Lamu,” he said.
Bunu noted that transportation of fish from Lamu was still being done with difficulty leading to huge losses after rotting of fish along the way due to lack of cold storage fish trucks.
By Amenya Ochieng

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