Amani National Congress (ANC) party leader Musalia Mudavadi has asked the national government to lift an existing ban on night fishing in Lamu.
Addressing locals at Mkunguni Square in Lamu Town at the weekend, Mr Mudavadi expressed his discontent over the fishing ban which has been in place for the past five years and which has so far killed the fishing industry in the area.
He said there is no reason for the government to continue imposing the night ban on fishing especially in Kiunga where the fishing sector is the sole income earner for the residents.
“We have been told that incidences of terrorism and piracy have been contained in this region. The government has been saying that our armed forces are on top of things.
“The fishing industry is the backbone of Lamu’s economy. It should therefore be the responsibility of our navy to guard and escort our fishermen on their fishing mission rather than harassing and stopping them from plying their trade,” said Mr Mudavadi.
He also questioned why the government was reluctant to compensate the more than 7,000 fishermen who have been displaced as a result of the ongoing dredging at the first three berths intended for the Lamu Port-South Sudan-Ethiopia Transport (Lapsset) corridor project at Kililana.
Mr Mudavadi said the commencement of dredging at the sites had greatly disrupted fishing in the region and that the government should speed up compensation of the Lamu fishermen.
He also asked the government to provide the affected fishermen with modern equipment to enable fish in the deep sea.
“The fish industry is slowly being strangled by the disruption of marine life due the dredging for the deep-sea port (Lapsset) and the establishment of a coal and gas factory. The government should fulfil its promise to compensate all the fishermen in Lamu for loss of fishing grounds as a result of such activities,” said Mr Mudavadi.
Lamu Governor Issa Timamy said it is important for the government to honour the resettlement action plan for the fishermen affected by Lapsset activities in order to enable them adapt to the situation.
He said the county government will fight for the rights of Lamu people, especially the fishermen, in order to ensure they get justice.