Current Status of Trawl Fishery of Malindi–Ungwana Bay: Executive Summary.
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Corporate AuthorKenya Marine Fisheries and Research Institute
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AbstractThe existence of the shallow water penaeid shrimps fishery in the Malindi-Ungwana bay was established during a survey undertaken by various fishing expeditions in the 1960’s and 70’s. The expeditions were carried out by the Kenya Government with assistance from UNDP and FAO. It was established that a reasonably equipped prawn trawler could land as much as 3 to 4 tones of marketable crustacean per day. Semi-industrial trawlers target the shallow water prawns and land on average around 400 metric tons annually (Anon 2001). The prawn are restricted to the shallow areas of Malindi-Ungwana bay Semi-industrial prawn trawling has been going on in the area for the last three decades. The number of licensed vessels, licensed by the Fisheries Department has fluctuated between 4 and 20. Inshore fishery output has been on the decline (Ruwa et al 2001 and McClanahan 1997). The artisanal fishery accounts of the 90% about 10,000 metric tons of the annual total marine fish landed. The catch is mostly made up of the fish families Scaridae, Siganidae, Nemipteridae, Lethrinidae and Lutjanidae. The Malindi-Ungwana Bay is a shared fishing ground with artisanal fishermen and commercial prawn trawlers. Artisanal fishermen have blamed prawn trawlers for the decline citing high levels of bycatch as a key concern and fishing gear destruction. There is a concern from environmentalists that the prawn trawling activities are also causing increased mortalities of sea turtles. In order to resolve the conflicts and minimize socio-economic problems associated with resource use, a Consultative Meeting of Stakeholders was convened by the Government in Mombasa in February 2001, to deliberate on the issues and identify the causes of conflicts and recommend remedial action. The meeting recommended a closure of the Malindi-Ungwana trawl fishery to commercial fishing and a comprehensive survey of the resources and socio-economic issues. This was aimed at coming up with recommendations on sustainable fishing practices and better resource use. The key issues raised by the stakeholders, included the need to develop a clear understanding of the impacts of prawn trawling on the fisheries dynamics, determine the abundance and distribution of prawns and fish stocks determine the viability of the prawn fishery within and beyond the 5nm limit and assess the problem of by-catch and its impact on the environment and our fishery. According to the existing Fisheries Act, trawling within 5nm is illegal. However, the criteria for delineating this 5nm no trawl zone is not documented, neither are there supporting studies for the area to provide evidence. The meeting therefore bestowed the responsibility of carrying out the research to Kenya Marine and Fisheries Research Institute. Four fishing vessels were availed by the commercial fishing companies operated by Basta and Sons and East African SeaFood to facilitate data collection. A one year research commenced in May 2001 focussing on the trawl surveys, environmental and socio-economic studies.
Publisher or UniversityKenya Marine Fisheries and Research Institute