Fishermen call for lift of ban on night fishing

By Nicholas Nduati

Fishermen in Kiunga, Lamu County are calling on the government to lift a ban on fishing at night claiming that fish numbers during the day are so minimal.

The fishermen say their counterparts from neighboring Somalia have no restrictions to fish at night hence bringing unfair competition to their business.

More than 70 percent of native islanders in Lamu County depend on fishing for survival.

The ban on fishing at night was put in place in 2011 as a security measure following a spate of fishermen and tourist abductions by the al Shabaab militants.

At the beginning of this year President Uhuru Kenyatta directed that the ban be lifted in order to increase the catch for fishermen, restrictions on night fishing still abound with patrols by the Kenya Navy leading to arrests when one is caught fishing at night.

According to the fishermen, the ban has greatly affected their trade since fishing is more productive at night when they record high catches than during the day.

In addition, fishermen from Somalia are always protected and allowed to fish at night.

This is despite calls to the government by Kenyan fishermen in May this year to stop the Kenya-Somalia fish trade which has seen the market in Mombasa flooded with cheap fish from Somalia.

The fishermen however agree that the government should increase sea patrols for security purposes.


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