• The Mvuvi Card contains all the information of an individual, including the ID number, BMU registration number and a special serial code.
• The card is fitted with a microchip to enable security officers to monitor the movement of each fisherman in the Indian Ocean.
The national government will issue smart identification cards to over 6,000 fishermen in Lamu in a bid to secure the Kenyan waters from terrorists.
The Mvuvi Card contains all the information of an individual, including the ID number, BMU registration number and a special serial code.
The card is fitted with a microchip to enable security officers to monitor the movement of each fisherman in the Indian Ocean. The chip will indicate the exact location of the holder making it easier for marine security officers to reach them promptly if necessary.
On Tuesday, the government started registering the fishermen. The month-long drive is being conducted in partnership with Search For Common Ground together with local community-based organisations. The aim is to register the local fisherfolk from all the 40 Beach Management Units (BMUs) in the county.
Issuance of the Mvuvi Cards will follow shortly after the registration.
Lamu fishermen previously complained of being harassed by security officers at sea for not having adequate identification.
Speaking at the launch of the registration drive, Lamu county commissioner Irungu Macharia said the biometric card will not only enhance security but also boost the government’s planning purposes.
"This card does not just identify a fisherman, but it also gives government agencies an opportunity to better understand the fisherfolk," he said.
Macharia said the card will bolster relationships between fishermen and security operatives, something that was greatly affected after the government imposed a night fishing ban in 2011 owing to al Shabaab attacks in the region.
Lamu Fisheries chief officer Simon Komu said the issuance of the Mvuvi Card will increase the catch from 3,000 to 5,000 tonnes a year.
"This will be a boost to the economy of Lamu," he said.
Edited by A.N