Somalian pirates are good for the livelihood and coral reef ecosystems of Kenya

Here’s one you wouldn’t expect… local fisherman celebrate Somali pirates (thanks to Brian for the link):

The fishermen of Malindi are celebrating and it’s all thanks to the pirates. Since piracy has scared away the international trawlers who were ravaging Kenya’s fish stocks, local fishing is thriving again. These fishermen are used to earning less than £5 a day but over the last few months they’ve been netting huge catches, increasing their wages by over 50 times. ‘Yesterday I made 20,000, I got a big shark’ boasts one fisherman. With only one patrol boat and thousands of miles of ocean, preventing illegal fisheries has been an impossible task for the Kenyan fishery department. Something, ironically, the pirates are taking care of. But it’s not only the fisherman who are benefiting from revived fish stocks, sports fishermen are having their best season in 40 years. ‘I have never seen a season like it’ beams Captain Massood, who takes tourists on deep-sea fishing trips. Marine biologist Steve Trott believes this ‘is the strongest indicator yet that these commercial scale fleets have had a destructive impact on Kenyan fisheries.’

Local fisherman celebrate Somali pirates from Sam Farmar on Vimeo.

3 thoughts on “Somalian pirates are good for the livelihood and coral reef ecosystems of Kenya

  1. I found it interesting that there was such apparent change over a short period of time. I am not sure if that is an indication of how quick an area can recover, or if the increase is entirely due to migration due to lack of fishing pressure.

  2. This news is very interesting and reminds lots when Taiwan was still under the marital law to against mainland China during the “cold war”. It was end by 1987. Coral reefs was fully protected by military because no one is allowed to approach the shore without permission, and no night activity after 18:00 PM. Only fishermen and restrict researchers can go out for SCUBA diving with M-16 armed marine. That was the good old day to a undergraduate student like me!

    It is also very interesting to me that the large fishing boats are mainly from Taiwan along the Kenya and Somalian coast line. those big big fishing boats are equipped deep freezers which can stayed in the areas for over 6 months without returning to port in Mauritius. Just about 4 weeks ago, a Taiwanese tuna fishing boat was Kidnapped by Somalian pirates. They are still fighting for 3 million USD for getting people back…

    What a disaster….

  3. The Somali piracy fishing story from Kenya lumps together and so confuses two very different fisheries: the coastal coral reef fisheries (demersal species close to shore, eg reef fishes like snapper, parrot fish etc) taken by artisanal fishers will not be affected by piracy. But the offshore pelagic fisheries which are either fished by highly commercial fishers (offshore foreign fishing vessels – all licensed boats are Spanish and Taiwanese, except eight) or targeted by the small “big game” recreational fishery of Kenya, eg. the marlin and tunas, are likely to be affected by piracy, as the story says. So we need to be clear – piracy is not going to affect most artisanal fishers in Kenya, only those that go fishing offshore for pelagics eg sharks and tunas – trolling in their outrigger canoes. Though significant, these are not the majority of artisanal fishers in Kenya. War often benefits commercially fished stocks – there are numerous examples. It’s a good storybut let’s be clear who it is benefitting.

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