More than 400 fishermen, traders and boat owners in Kilifi County have lost income due to strong winds that have made deep sea fishing impossible.
According to representatives of the Beach Management Unit, since April the coastal region has experienced the full force of East African Monsoon winds which have curtailed fishing activities.
BMU Chairman, Suleiman Shaban Abdallah said due to the size, their small fishing boats, fishermen have been unable to venture into deep sea for fishing.
“Our fishermen have not been able to put food on the table since April when the winds started. Every fisherman has not been able to net 10 kilograms of fish in a day unlike before the winds when a fisherman could net as much as 300 kilograms in a day,” he said.
According to Mr Abdallah the winds have affected the sector for the past four months, leaving members with no income to support their families.
Fish traders in Kilifi Town and Old Ferry, told KNA that they have not been getting fresh fish to sell as they made daily fruitless efforts to move to the seashore to wait for fishermen who latter appear with insufficient catch.
“We had hopes of recovering our businesses after the government lifted restrictions in the trade a month ago. But this has not helped us since we have nothing to prepare and sell in the market,” said Mwanaisha Juma, a trader at Kibaoni.
Mwanaisha said she cannot risk purchasing imported fish from China which is available in butcheries to prepare for sale since most of her customers do not want to consume the imported product.
The trader said she has been buying fresh fish from the fishermen at Kilifi’s Old Ferry landing bay for the past 10 years but has never experienced a severe scarcity of the commodity as is being witnessed now.
Another fish trader at Mtaani Estate, Mr. Kazungu Dena, said he has been managing to get a few kilos of fish from Bofa fish landing site after waking up very early in the morning.
“I usually wake up at 4.00 am in the morning to set-off for the beach to await the fishermen who start arriving at 5.00 am with the little fish they have managed to catch. On a good day, I can manage to buy 10- kilograms,” he said.
He said owing to the shortage and competition among traders, he has been forced to sell a kilogram of fish at Sh.450 after purchasing the same at Sh.350 from the fishermen.
Kilifi North Sub-county Fisheries Officer, Mbaraka Mapapa, said the problem is likely to end in October when the East African monsoon winds will come to an end, noting that the fishermen at the Central BMU have been netting as little as 50 tons a day during the high season.