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February 19, 2018

No cash for fishermen pushed out by Lapsset

Dredging at the Lapsset site in Lamu on Friday last week /CHETI PRAXIDES
Dredging at the Lapsset site in Lamu on Friday last week /CHETI PRAXIDES

Lamu fishermen displaced by ongoing dredging activities at the new Lamu Port-Lapsset site will not receive monetary compensation as they had expected.

Lapsset Corridor Development Authority director general Sylvester Kasuku said the fishermen would instead receive comparable compensation in the form of training and equipment for deep-sea fishing.

He yesterday said fishermen will be kept up-to-date on the compensation process.

About 7,000 fishermen had sought lifelong compensation for being locked out of the safer fishing waters of the Indian Ocean due to the dredging.

Kasuku said monetary compensation is unrealistic and untenable.

Dredging has closed off waters previously used by the fishermen and they are up in arms, saying their source of livelihood has been taken away.

Artisanal  fishermen have been forced to abandon their trade on the safer channels with the only remaining option being for them to risk fishing in the high seas.

But they say its impossible for  them to survive the high seas with their simple equipment.

The fishermen have sought compensation for years.

Kasuku said the training and equipment will enable them to fish on the high seas.

Every fisherman will get a boat engine.

Kasuku urged the fishermen to form or join Beach Management Units to get services faster.

“The national government, county government and Lapsset are in talks so that we can agree on the degree of compensation which we have already said won’t be monetary,” he said.

There have been concerns about a lack of awareness of the existing framework on sustainable development on the part of key stakeholders as well as the host community.

There have also been complaints the government has failed to harmonise, enact and implement a framework to ensure fishermen are protected as the Lapsset project continues.

County director of fisheries Simon Komu said the building and operation of the port will necessitate the cessation of traditional fishing practices in some of the channels.

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