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Kenyans want Tanzania’s ban on fishing gear lifted

Thursday January 24 2019


Jasini village elder Salim Makata (right) and another villager display the fishing nets that have been banned by Tanzanian authorities on January 24, 2019. PHOTO | SAMUEL BAYA | NATION MEDIA GROUP 

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Kenyan fishermen at Jasini village on Kwale County want the ban on the use of small sized fishing nets imposed by the Tanzania government lifted.

The fishermen, through their village elder Salim Makata, asked the Kenyan government to intervene and find a lasting solution.

“The harassment by Tanzania authorities in this village is alarming. For the last three days, we have not been able to go fishing for fear of being arrested by Tanzanian policemen,” said Mzee Mataka told journalists on Thursday.

In Jasini village, fishing nets lie under trees, while some boats are abandoned at the shores of the Indian Ocean.   

“Our lives depend on fishing. After the Tanzanian government announced that they would not allow small sized nets, things have not been rosy. We have been engaged in a cat and mouse game with the Tanzania police for the last three days. The situation is soon going out of hands,” said Mzee Makata.



Some of the residents now fear that the Tanzanian government might soon confiscate their fishing gears.

Mr Mwinyihaji Abdallah, a fisherman, said although the ban was meant for Tanzanian fishermen, it was weighing heavily on the Kenyans since they use the same equipment. 

“The ban has been enforced and was meant for the Tanzanian fishermen but it is affecting us because we share the same fishing grounds,” he said.

“The major fishing hubs such as Jasini, Jimbo and Makinda are the most affected,” he said

Another fisherman Mr Salim Masumbuku said for the past three days, their businesses have been adversely affected, considering that fishing is their main economic activity.


“We are Kenyans and it is unfortunate that the ban meant our neighbours is affecting our lives because we share fishing grounds,” he said.

He said that should the Kenyan government not take action to salvage the situation, fishing would collapse.

“We are concerned that the fishing sector is now at the brink of collapsing," he said.

Mzee Makata, however, said that his team uses standard nets. He said the lives of at least 500 villagers are now at risk following the ban.

“We don't know any other kind of work apart from fishing and you can imagine how life will be for the villagers and their families without fishing,” he said.