The ongoing night curfew coupled with strong and boisterous winds have greatly affected fishing within the Indian Ocean in Kilifi County, leading to a severe scarcity of fish.
The Kenya News Agency has established that the fisher folk in Malindi have had to go without fish since it has been difficult to venture into the sea for fear of being arrested by law enforcers or capsizing due to the roughness of the sea resulting from strong and boisterous winds.
Speaking at the Shella fish landing site in Malindi Town on Thursday, a number of fishermen said they were unable to take care of their families and pay rent and asked the county and national governments to give the fisher folk special consideration in enforcing the curfew.
They also asked the government to consider giving them financial support as the Coronavirus pandemic had rendered them highly vulnerable.
Mr Mohamed Fadhili, one of the fishermen, said that since most fishing activities take place at night, the 9.00 pm to 4.00 am curfew imposed as part of Covid-19 containment measures was disadvantageous to the fisher folk.
“We now fear that our families could disintegrate if the pandemic is not contained within the next six months as we are now unable to fend for our wives and children,” he said.
His sentiments were echoed by the chairman of the Shella Beach Management Unit (BMW) in Malindi Town, Mr Yusuf Aboud Sahe, who also urged the government to give financial support and relief food to families belonging to the fisher folk.
“Fishermen are some of the lowly people with meagre income. If we continue like this, our families will suffer greatly,” the BMU Chairman said.
A spot check at the fish landing sites along the Malindi beaches revealed a sorry state, with fishermen landing a catch of as little as half a kilogramme, while others only end up washing their nets after collecting seaweeds.
Most of the fish shops in Malindi Town have also been operating below capacity, with many being forced to close early for lack of stock.
AgriFood Kenya also found out that the prices of fish have also gone up by between Sh50 and Sh100, with a kilogramme selling at between Sh350 and 500 up from Sh300 and 400.