The Case of Grabbed, inaccessible and neglected Fish landing sites in Mombasa County
Tonight I was reading some literature produced by Haki Yetu Organization of Mombasa county about the inaccessible or grabbed fish landing sites.
Hotels, well-connected Kenyans, Kenya Ports Authority (KPA) and churches have been accused of grabbing fish landing sites in Mombasa County.
According to Gabriel Dolan, Mombasa county produces only 5% out of the 174,000 metric tonnes of fish produced in Kenya.
Fishermen in Mombasa are forced to sell their catch cheaply because they do not have enough storage facilities and freezers. The only existing cold storage facilities are in Old Town and they are not in their best shape.
Below is an extract from the Haki Yetu Organization publication titled: Nowwhere To Land.
Of the 50 fish landing sites recognized by the Fisheries Department, only 14 are gazetted. But even with official gazette notices, there are no documents to show their plot numbers, sizes, and as such no title deeds.
Defunct Municipal Council of Mombasa officials, in collaboration with Ministry of Lands, blindly allocated both the sites and their access routes: they are now under private ownership.
According to the Fisheries Department, 20 of the 50 landing sites have been grabbed while the rest are in use. However, even those in use are registered under private individuals, companies and churches.
Kibarani Landing Site for example sits on a plot leased to Kenya Railways Corporation for 99 years from 1st January 1966. However, it could disappear if Ware Transport LTD, who acquired it for Ksh 30,000,000 on 1st May 2012 decide to evict them.
Bamburi Landing Site was sub-divided into various blocks that changed hands from Shamsuddin Kassamali (1968), among others to City Pharmacy (1985); and finally transferred to Oceanic Fruits Limited in 2011 for Ksh. 50 million. The title for one of the blocks was surrendered by Mr. Rashid Sajjad in March 2014 while the fishermen known that their title is in safe custody at the National Museum of Kenya. A former PC owns the last block.
If Kenya is to achieve its agenda of food security, then, the county must focus on improving the working conditions of our fishermen and farmers across the county.
One of the ways to achieve that is through ensuring that sufficient budgetary allocations are made and implemented to the latter. Failure of which the country will continue importing fish from as far as China and Vietnam while our fisher folks cry foul.