Displaced Lamu fishermen to get equipment as compensation


Traditional fishing dhow in Lamu. PHOTO | RUPI MANGAT | NMG

More than 7,000 fishermen who were displaced by dredging at the Sh2.5 trillion Lamu Port-South Sudan Ethiopia Transport (Lapsset) corridor project in Kililana will not get monetary compensation.

Speaking to journalists in Lamu town on Tuesday, Lapsset Corridor Development Authority Director-General Silvester Kasuku said the fishermen would instead get fishing equipment.

Mr Kasuku said the authority was in discussion with the national government, the county government and other stakeholders to provide all the affected fishermen with the necessary skills and equipment that will enable them to conduct fishing in the deep sea.

He said the authority will also ensure inclusivity of the fishermen in all stages of the new compensation package.

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The Lamu fishermen, most of whom rely on the Mkanda Channel, had earlier on sought to be compensated for the entire remaining period of their lives when they will be locked out of the safer fishing waters of the Indian Ocean due to dredging.

Mr Kasuku categorically said monetary compensation in such a situation was unrealistic and untenable.

The fishermen said due to the dredging, the traditional fishing waters at the Mkanda Channel have been closed off to a significant number of artisanal fisher persons who currently depend on the channel for their livelihood.

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Abandon trade

Artisanal fishermen have now been forced to abandon their trade on the safer channels with the only remaining option being to struggle and cope with the risky demands in the high seas.

The fishermen say it is impossible for them to survive the high seas with the simple fishing machinery they have.

The fishermen have sought compensation for the impending loss of their traditional fishing avenues without much success for years now.

Mr Kasuku said the authority was focusing more on equipping the fisher folk with modern skills and equipment that will enable them conduct their trade in the high seas.

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He said every single affected fisherperson will receive the skills and all the necessary equipment including powerful boat engines for free from the authority.

Mr Kasuku urged the fishermen to form or join Beach Management Units (BMUs) to enable them get the services sooner.

“The fishermen should rest assured that they will be compensated in kind and not in cash.

"We are in talks with the national government, the county government and the Lapsset so that we can agree on the degree of comparable compensation. We shall give them skills and equipment so that they continue with the trade,” said Mr Kasuku.