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Kenya: Marine Resources and Participative Fisheries Management

Partner: Coast-Rural Development Organisation (CRDO), Mombasa, Kenya

Participants: The fishermen and their families on the coast south of Mombasa, Kenya

Ecological aims: To relieve the burden on the heavily over-fished lagoon and reef ecosystems and protect them

Economical aims: To introduce a fishery management system and seek alternative sources of income

Social aims: To strengthen the community through self-organisation, training, and infrastructure


  • To promote processing and marketing of fish under hygienic conditions
  • To provide training for fishery management, self-organisation and marketing
  • To encourage self-organisation of fishermen in “Beach Management Units”
  • To set up marine protection areas (MPAs)
  • To introduce techniques for preserving fish or adding value (chilling, drying, smoking)
  • To promote alternative sources of income not dependent on the sea
  • To improve the safety of work at sea

The project was concluded in late 2010 as planned. A continuation is planned on the basis of a modified project approach and together with a new partner. During 2010 the project focussed on the fisherfolks self-organization and trainings for the Beach Management Units (BMU), maritime safety, marine protection, alternative livelihoods and fish processing:


BMU Elections: Awareness, sensitization and Elections

The Ministry of Fisheries (Mombasa Head office) together with C-R.D.O performed a collective B.M.U Performance Audit (Monitoring & Evaluation) exercise in 2008. Among the key recommendations was to restructure BMUs to meet the requirements for co managing coastal resources. C-R.D.O and the Ministry of Fisheries kick started the process by dissolving all the BMUs and called for fresh free, fair and transparent elections in ten (10) pilot BMUs - Shimoni, Jimbo, Vanga, Bodo, Funzi, Majoreni, Wasini,Mkwiro, Kiromo and Likoni stations. Each BMU has a 9-11 man committee members overseeing coastal resource management and development. This exercise was jointly facilitated by C-R.D.O and Ministry of Fisheries.


Review, harmonize and domesticate BMU training manual

There are three different training manuals adapted from Lake Victoria (fresh land water mass). A need was identified to review and harmonize the training manuals to suit coastal BMUs and ecosystems before BMUs capacity building programs commences. The Ministry of Fisheries appointed a panel of five fisheries officers trained in BMU training and C-R.D.O’s C.E.O to perform this task. The team has produced the BMU training module – coast version. Through the collaboration synergy, the manual has been successfully used in training six Tiwi-Diani BMUs (25th-5th.11.2010) which was done in MOANA (UoN) research center, Diani. This training was facilitated by ReCoMaP through the Ministry of Fisheries. A five days BMU training (18th -22nd -10-2010) covering Majoreni, Shimoni, Kibuyuni and Wasini was facilitated by East African Wildlife Society in partnership with Ministry and collaborators (CRDO, Pact K, Echo-Ethics, CORDIO and WCS). Extensive capacity building of the other remaining BMUs assemblies will commence in 2011.


The video illustrates the living conditions at the southcoast of Kenya. The problem of over-fishing in the shallow coastal waters of southern Kenya has been accentuated by the increasing number of fishermen who, because of the lack of alternatives, have been forced to use the simplest types of equipment to earn a living.



Fisheries Ministry and C.R.D.O Memorandum of Understanding

To arrest the occurrences where NGOs have been initiating piecemeal and unsustainable projects along the coast, all NGOs working in coastal resource management have been required to enter into a working MoU with ministry or risk being banned from the areas. C-R.D.O has already done that and has been allocated landing sites/communities from Bodo to Vanga while PACT Kenya from Munje to Tiwi zone. PACT Kenya (an NGO) is now implementing the recommendations made the C-R.D.O BMU Audit report which was adapted by the Ministry of Fisheries. The BMU elections done by C-R.D.O were a show case in that PACT Kenya and other NGOs (collaborators) are using the same approach to restructure BMUs from Tiwi to Vanga coastal zone.


This collaboration spirit has immensely ensured continuation of some of CRDOs activities when funding ended e.g. BMU training in Majoreni, Shimoni, Wasini and Kibuyuni which was done by East African Wildlife society and ecological survey in Kibuyuni facilitated by ReCoMaP through WSC


Sea and Rescue Team (SART)

C-R.D.O started integrated approach to the issue of disaster preparedness by training fishers (members of BMU) in Shimoni, Mkwiro and Kibuyuni landing sites. The team (SART) was trained in all methods of saving life and med-first aid. The team was certified in March 2010. The team has done many missions on life saving along Shimoni–Wasini areas. This team is currently charged with the responsibility of training other artisanal fishers in sea and rescue skills. This initiative is aimed at reducing the extent of loss of life at sea of our local fishers. T-shirts were provided for the sole purpose of identification and motivation. C-R.D.O and Fisheries are working out modalities, for the Ministry to continue supporting this noble initiative through the BMUs.


Aquatic restoration program: Kibuyuni L.M.M.A

LMMA as an evolving concept is now considered not only as a conservation tool, but a development tool, health tool and an equity tool. C-R.D.O prides its self for initiating the first LMMA and mangrove conservation projects in South coast of Mombasa. In partnership with other stakeholders, the community has brought to an end the use of destructive fishing gears along Kibuyuni fishing grounds.


The LMMA, a no-take zone has been zoned with buoys. Underwater/ecological survey was conducted by worldly recognized marine scientists; Tim Maclahan and Dr. Muthiga Nyawira of Wildlife Conservation Society (WCS). The main objective of the ecological survey was to collect and collate secondary information on the biodiversity resources found within the Kibuyuni LMMA. Though some surveys have been done by WCS with support from ReCoMaP, an extensive survey covering the remaining ecological biodiversity areas will conducted by WCS on the 17th – 18th January, 2011.


The LMMA committee has undergone a one day training on LMMA management.

Three members of the LMMA scouts have been trained in sea and rescue skills. For effective monitoring of the LMMA against poaching, the community had started erecting a watchman tower which was put on hold due to lack of sufficient funds.


Kibuyuni LMMA is now a show case of success that has seen other communities replicating the same e.g. Nyari Tiwi and Msambweni LMMA. The 27 hectare Kibuyuni LMMA is practical evidence that when communities are empowered can conserve and manage their resources. Fish stock increase is already manifesting.


Marine Education School Programs

This program currently coordinated by a volunteer from Artefact Gmbh. Mobilization and awareness creation in schools started in early September 2009. Four (4) schools became the pilot for conservation clubs – Majisafi (Likoni-Shelly beach, Wasini, Shimoni and Mzizima Primary schools in shimoni). A club has a membership of 20 students and patronized by two teachers. The coordinator has been holding planning meeting meetings with teachers on site and also attending club day sessions. A major training was held in December (2009) whereby teachers and students were trained in conservation issues and sea rescue. The clubs were also provided with T-shirts for identification purposes.


Each school has made and is using locally made waste management bins. During the World Environmental day Art competition exercise (Lilia was a committee member), 17 students from Maji safi primary participated in the competition while in the world ocean day, 4 schools took part in the art and essay competition. Each school submitted 10 entries. The winner/winning school was given presents during the world ocean day.

With the exit of the intern who was in charge of the clubs, one staff has taken charge.


Micro Enterprise and sustainable livelihood project

Mpaji ni Mungu – Gazi

Value addition solar dried and smoked fish program is being implemented in partnership with KMFRI and C–R.D.O. C-RD.O has developed standard training manual for capability building of women groups and fisher folk’s organizations in Business planning and Group dynamics. KMFRI has produced a Kiswahili solar drying manual for use by the group. The group – Mpaji ni Mungu has enjoyed continued support from C-R.D.O in market identification and testing for solar dried fish in the hinterland. C-R.D.O and Gazi community constructed a building for the group which houses a canteen and storage place for solar dried products and materials.

Mpaji ni Mungu group is one of the beneficiaries of C-R.D.O micro credit facility which has been instrumental in strengthening and expanding their business.


Other beneficiary groups of this scheme are Bodo, Kibuyuni (Nagajeza Self Help Grp), Mamboleo fishing Grp (Likoni), Mbweni Beekeeping & conservation Grp (Majoreni). Noticeable changes in quality of life are already evident in these groups.


Linking conservation with sustainable livelihood project

Unsustainable exploitation of mangrove forests has led to loss of tree cover that acts as natural sink for carbon dioxide thus enhancing climate change and its impacts. Along with their disappearance, would be the economic resource they provide, the coastal stability they create and an alteration of an ecosystem that is irreplaceable. The combination of decreasing coastal resources and increasing demand calls strategies to link conservation with sustainable alternative livelihoods for coastal communities as an incentive to conserve “their” biodiversity.


Apiculture and silvofisheries offer options of diversifying food production through risk transfer mechanisms in the event of climate change impacts while providing some income opportunities for the local communities besides reducing pressure in the fishery.


Apiculture in mangrove forests

Success story of linking conservation with sustainable livelihood projects in mangroves is evident in Majoreni and Kibuyuni. This approach is based on the premise that when resource users see a direct link between the status/condition of a resource and their own livelihoods, conservation objectives are more likely to be achieved over the long term.


Both communities have more than 100 hives in the apiary with more than 40 hives already colonized. The returns from the harvest have convinced other communities on the importance of conservation and sustainable resource extraction.

These groups have undergone intensive training in value addition and packaging techniques besides two field visits to Kwetu training center and other such like projects.


Silvofisheries – Majoreni community

Silvofisheries have been suggested as such way of making good use of mangrove forests to improve livelihoods and poverty reduction of the local people while instilling conservation.


Majoreni the community has proved its potential and willingness in fish farming. If the success of the beekeeping project is anything to go by, the community has enormous potential in fish farming and crab rearing. Majoreni area produces some of the biggest crabs from the wild along the southern coastline.


The Majoreni community silvoculture project was initiated without scientific input. CRDO engaged the service of NEMA, KMFRI and Kenya Forest Services who made two field visits to this site. With the many estuaries in the Majoreni coastline, the experts recommended that the area had greater potential for starting low cost fish farming and crab fattening farms.


The project was put on hold due to the lack of sufficient funds to conduct an EIA, a requirement by NEMA on any project to be undertaken along the coastline.


Networking & Partnership formation

C-R.DO has established committed partnership with fishing communities along south coast of Kenya and facilitated closer partnership with government partners and other stakeholders though the monthly collaborators meetings organized by the Ministry of Fisheries. We enhanced and established working linkages with scientific, social academic and other institutions e.g. KMFRI, Kenyatta, Moi University and international cooperation with international university interns programs.



Main events are in Stone Town, Zanzibar, with some events on Pemba Island and mainland Tanzania. In 2010, our video "Custodians of the sea", a portrait of the people at the Kenyan coast has been presented in Stone Town.


The Kenyan coast on the Indian Ocean south of Mombasa has a beautiful white-sanded beach. The area is known for its coral reefs.