Political atmosphere hurts fishing sector in Kilifi County

The withdrawal by over 100 fishermen from neighboring Zanzibar and Pemba in Tanzania has affected the fishing sector in Kilifi County causing losses of revenue amounting to millions of shillings.

The fishermen withdrew their services since May this year, citing the unfavourable political atmosphere which has extended after the August 8 general elections and have since not resumed.

The Kilifi Central Beach Management Unit Vice-Chairperson, Henry Mzungu said in Kilifi town on Tuesday that the foreign fishermen were closely monitoring the political situation before venturing into Kenyan waters again.

I am in regular talks with them but they are hesitant to resume work. They have insisted that they will be back in Kenyan waters only if the political impasse is resolved, he said.

Kilifi County receives more than 100 fishermen from neighbouring countries who engage in deep fishing and sell most of their produce to vendors in Mtwapa, Mnarani, Takaungu and Watamu.

Mzungu said the fishermen usually operate between April and September, a time when only deep sea fishing is appropriate because of high tides in the ocean that prohibits local fishermen to venture because of the lack of fishing gears.

Every year, we receive 36 deep sea fishing vessels, 30 of which dock within Kilifi central beach landing site as the other six land at Mnarani Beach Landing site. Each of these vessels has about six crews on board and bring hundreds of tons of fish for sale in these areas, he said.

He said his unit gets almost sh.50, 000 daily in levies paid by the foreign fishermen, but that has not been happening since May this year.

Apart from the levies they pay, their products are always well received by vendors who sell at a profit. Since they stopped coming, most of our youth who accompany them to fishing expeditions in the deep sea have been rendered jobless, he lamented.

Source: Kenya News Agency