From Farming to Fishing: Marine Resource Conservation
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This paper examines the arrival of a new group of fishermen on the Kenyan coast and what this has meant for the state of fishery resources. It reviews four subject areas: access and the number of fishermen; the fishermen’s identity; the choice of fishing gear; and the fishing grounds selected. Data were collected from a small number of fishing households in the villages of Uyombo and Takaungu in Kilifi District, using mainly qualitative research methods. Local households on the Kenyan coast face increasing pressure on land as well as on marine resources. The declining economic situation and greater pressure on land have made people turn to fishing as an income-generating activity. This group of fishermen is referred to as the ‘new’ generation of fishermen as they have been involved in fishing for only one or two generations (including the current one) in contrast to the ‘old’ generation from families who have been fishing or in fishingrelated activities for much longer. The old generation of fishermen and their households have also diversified their incomes, with many fishing households turning to farming, for example, with women and grown-up children involved in various activities. The new generation of fishermen, mainly of the Mijikenda population group, has often been blamed for the loss of traditional access regulations and for using harmful fishing gear. This paper discusses the new generation of fishermen and their identity as they perceive it and relates this to employment generation as a policy measure for marine conservation.