Sunday, May 28, 2023

Tuna supply dried up for Kenya’s local fishing community

VAANGA, Kenya ( Associated Press) — “Tuna isn’t for everyone,” says Chapoka Myongo, 65, a handline fisher from her dugout canoe on Kenya’s southern coast.

He is one of many artisanal fishermen in Shimoni, a bustling coastal town 82 kilometers (51 mi) south of Mombasa, dotted with dhows, dugout boats, outrigger canoes and skiffs anchored at the beach landing site. Is. Scores of fishermen, processors and traders line the shoreline while waiting for the fishermen to return.

“My canoe is only suitable for near shore and only people with big boats and money can access the tuna,” he said. Miyongo explained that warmer waters due to climate change forced tuna species to change their migration patterns, making it difficult for local fishermen to catch them. The lack of sustainable fishing by large ships has also led to a decline in fish stocks.

According to records kept by the Kenya Fisheries Service, the Shimoni Channel, formerly a famous haunt for tuna, benefits from the north and southeast monsoons, which can lead to substantial catches.

But the current monsoon has been merciless for Miyango. He can barely fill his bucket: his modest catch for the day includes a motley batch of emperor fish.

Yellowfin tuna in particular, which fetches competitive prices in the market, could feel like a “lucky break” for fishermen, explained 60-year-old lobster fisherman Majera Magala.

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After five days of fruitless searching, searching fish landing sites in Ghazi Bay, Shimoni Channel and Wanga Seafront for Yellowfin Tuna, one weighing six and a half kilograms was finally caught by an outrigger canoe fisherman on the Shimoni Channel.

Miongo and Mgala are among the more than 1,500 fishermen who depend on the channel’s rich seawater. In Myongo’s three decades of fishing, he says more young men are opting for artisanal fishing due to large foreign ships, a lack of white-collar jobs and higher education opportunities, and a changing climate is reducing livelihoods.

Fisherman Qasim Abdullah Jinji of Vanga said that most artisanal fishermen lack the skills, knowledge and financial support to compete with large foreign ships, mostly from Europe and Asia, who explore various tuna shoals throughout the Indian Ocean. Deploy satellite tracking technologies for

The Kenyan government is implementing an economic strategy that will address the impacts of climate change on the livelihoods of those living on the coast, as well as fostering skills among artisanal fishermen and promoting more sustainable fishing practices, according to the Kenya Fisheries Service. Dennis Oigara said.

Subsidies for large fisheries – which have long been blamed for destructive fishing practices – have featured prominently in World Trade Organization talks without resolution for more than a decade. Earlier this year the annual meeting of the Indian Ocean Tuna Commission, which is responsible for the region’s tuna regulations, was criticized for not implementing measures to protect many tuna species from overfishing.

Conservation groups called the Tuna Commission a “decade of failure” after catch limits for two tuna species were exceeded between 2018 and 2020, which left tuna stocks “increasingly at risk”. The World Wildlife Fund for Nature called for a global boycott of yellowfin tuna.

The Maldivian government, which unsuccessfully proposed that Tuna Commission members reduce their holdings by 22% from 2020, said it was “extremely disappointed” with the outcome of the meeting.

The commission’s executive secretary, Christopher O’Brien, said the number of fishing vessels operating in the Indian Ocean is declining.

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“Currently there are over 6100 vessels licensed to fish for the Indian Ocean tuna species. In 2020 there were just over 3300 active vessels,” he explained. Of these 6100 vessels registered by the Dugout and Outrigger Canoe Tuna Commission of Myongo and Abdullah are not from, which are dominated by industrial fishing fleets.

The Fisheries Commission also agreed to set up two special sessions in the near future to address concerns over yellowfin tuna stocks, the first in early 2023.

But the commission also passed a landmark resolution to study the effects of climate change on tuna fish stocks in the region, which was recognized as one of the conference’s successes. The study aims to understand the complex relationships between climate change, tuna fisheries and tuna stocks with a view to informing future adaptation and mitigation measures. It is the second regional fisheries management organization to implement a resolution on climate change.

“We hope that the adoption of this proposal will help us achieve long-term sustainability of tuna and tuna-like species stocks,” said Adam Ziad, director general of the Maldives’ Ministry of Fisheries, Marine Resources and Agriculture. ,

The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change says climate variability has depleted marine stocks, fish are shifting from lower to higher latitude areas, increasing the risk of coral bleaching and conflict over scarce resources. These changes are already being felt by local fishing communities.

“Back in the day I started fishing early in the morning and after three to four hours I was fine because I had caught enough fish,” said Mazera Magala, who started fishing in 1975 and was in his youth. Used to dive in the sea. Vibrant coral and abundant fish. “Nowadays, I stay at sea longer and still catch less.”

World Nation News Desk
World Nation News Desk
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