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August 8, 2022
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Tsunza residents turn to fish farming to improve livelihoods

Kinango residents led by Juma Baushi engage in tree planting exercise at Tsunza in Kwale county

Tsunza residents in Kinango, Kwale county, have adopted fish, prawns and bee farming to improve food security and livelihood under the Kazi Na Enye project.

The sustainable farming project was started by some community members in 2019 following the dwindling of fish in Lake Mkupe.

The residents allege that the ongoing construction of the Tsunza and Mteza bridges that link Mombasa to Kwale through the Tsunza peninsula have contributed to the low production of fish and prawns in the area.

Tsunza fish pond and mangrove conservation group chairperson Kamwana Karisa Bengi said fish breeding sites have been largely affected by dredging activities and mangroves harvesting.

“Pollution of water by dust and frequent vibrations from heavy machinery and destruction of mangroves have made fish disappear,” he said.

Previously, Tsunza was known to be the biggest producer of fish and high quality prawns.

Bengi said the project seeks to reduce over reliance on sea fishing and sustain local fishermen by engaging in alternative sources of income to help conserve the environment.

Part of the project is to also plant mangroves to promote fish and honey production.

The group is this year targeting to plant more than 6,000 mangroves.

The residents grow thousands of mangrove seedlings and restore the affected parts to spearhead environmental conservation and earn a living through the exercise.

Tsunza residents in Kinango, Kwale county, have adopted fish, prawns and bee farming to improve food security and livelihood under the Kazi Na Enye project.

The sustainable farming project was started by some community members in 2019 following the dwindling of fish in Lake Mkupe.

The residents allege that the ongoing construction of the Tsunza and Mteza bridges that link Mombasa to Kwale through the Tsunza peninsula have contributed to the low production of fish and prawns in the area.

Tsunza fish pond and mangrove conservation group chairperson Kamwana Karisa Bengi said fish breeding sites have been largely affected by dredging activities and mangroves harvesting.

“Pollution of water by dust and frequent vibrations from heavy machinery and destruction of mangroves have made fish disappear,” he said.

Previously, Tsunza was known to be the biggest producer of fish and high quality prawns.

Bengi said the project seeks to reduce over reliance on sea fishing and sustain local fishermen by engaging in alternative sources of income to help conserve the environment.

Part of the project is to also plant mangroves to promote fish and honey production.

The group is this year targeting to plant more than 6,000 mangroves.

The residents grow thousands of mangrove seedlings and restore the affected parts to spearhead environmental conservation and earn a living through the exercise.

Bengi said plans to expand the Kenya Ports Authority and construction of the Dongo Kundu Special Economic Zone will make fishing activities impossible hence the need to embrace modern fishing to avoid inconveniences.

“Fishing is becoming hard. When the lake is expanded, that’s the end and that’s why we created this project to address the shortage and improve economic benefits,” he said.

Bengi said they currently have four fish ponds — three are for fish and the other for prawns, with each having the capacity to produce more than 2,000 fish after every six months.

A member, Juma Baushi, said they are being assisted by the Kenya Marine and Research Institute officers in setting up the ponds and stocking skills for better yields.

He said fish farming is the only solution to their problems since local fishermen are barred from fishing in open waters.

“We have licenses but they have restrictions, and because of the port project, we cannot go past the allowed zones,” he said.

Tsunza fish pond project assistant secretary Lucy Kazungu said as women they opted to join the project because it is sustainable.

The project has 60 members and women are the majority.

She said since they depend on fishing to support families. “We saw that the project has a lot of benefits and we joined it to improve lives.”

Kazungu, however, called on the government to support them in managing the fish ponds since it is expensive.

She said they are currently using local means to make the ponds but when empowered to have better ones, fish production will increase.

Kazungu further said the fish need to be frequently fed and their food is not easily available because one has to travel to Mombasa town which is costly.

Community environmental expert Juma Mashanga Nyaye said fish pond farming is a game changer to the Blue Economy agenda. He said the project must be embraced because it not only improves livelihoods, but also promotes environmental conservation.

The environmental expert said he is optimistic the project will address the challenges of mangrove restoration efforts and harmful fishing techniques if given the required support.

Tsunza beekeeping chairman John Chaka asked the government to assist with experts who can help them improve bee farming.

He said at the moment pests have been disrupting their bee farming and since they lack knowledge on how to tackle the issue, they are helpless.

“We had several beehives but the bees ran away because of some unknown insects who interfered with them,” Chaka said.

Bengi said plans to expand the Kenya Ports Authority and construction of the Dongo Kundu Special Economic Zone will make fishing activities impossible hence the need to embrace modern fishing to avoid inconveniences.

“Fishing is becoming hard. When the lake is expanded, that’s the end and that’s why we created this project to address the shortage and improve economic benefits,” he said.

Bengi said they currently have four fish ponds — three are for fish and the other for prawns, with each having the capacity to produce more than 2,000 fish after every six months.

A member, Juma Baushi, said they are being assisted by the Kenya Marine and Research Institute officers in setting up the ponds and stocking skills for better yields.

He said fish farming is the only solution to their problems since local fishermen are barred from fishing in open waters.

“We have licenses but they have restrictions, and because of the port project, we cannot go past the allowed zones,” he said.

Tsunza fish pond project assistant secretary Lucy Kazungu said as women they opted to join the project because it is sustainable.

The project has 60 members and women are the majority.

She said since they depend on fishing to support families. “We saw that the project has a lot of benefits and we joined it to improve lives.”

Kazungu, however, called on the government to support them in managing the fish ponds since it is expensive.

She said they are currently using local means to make the ponds but when empowered to have better ones, fish production will increase.

Kazungu further said the fish need to be frequently fed and their food is not easily available because one has to travel to Mombasa town which is costly.

Community environmental expert Juma Mashanga Nyaye said fish pond farming is a game changer to the Blue Economy agenda. He said the project must be embraced because it not only improves livelihoods, but also promotes environmental conservation.

The environmental expert said he is optimistic the project will address the challenges of mangrove restoration efforts and harmful fishing techniques if given the required support.

Tsunza beekeeping chairman John Chaka asked the government to assist with experts who can help them improve bee farming.

He said at the moment pests have been disrupting their bee farming and since they lack knowledge on how to tackle the issue, they are helpless.

“We had several beehives but the bees ran away because of some unknown insects who interfered with them,” Chaka said.

 

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