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Kinyika JCMA

A Joint Co-Managed Marine Area (JCMA) set up with 10 stakeholder Beach Management Units (BMUS) around the Kinyika Eco-System

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What is a JCMA?

A Joint Co-Managed Area is a collaborative, community-centred approach to protecting important eco-systems, that is managed by those who directly benefit from the area. Creating marine JCMAs involves members of adjacent BMUs (Beach Management Units) that routinely share common fishing grounds and fisheries management activities are undertaken jointly by more than one BMU.  Fisheries management activities within a CMA are guided by  a joint co-management plan (JCMAP) which specifies fisheries management measures that are to be undertaken to ensure the sustainable utilisation of fisheries in that area.

In partnership with Blue Ventures we are working with the 10 BMU stakeholders to set up the Kinyika JCMA. 

Why Kinyika?

Kinyika is a small island lying 4kms off the Kenyan Coast, 17kms South West from Shella Village in the Lamu Archipelago. It is a unique habitat, due to its location close to shore but also close to the first drop off. It is not only a vital reef and nursery for fish but attracts turtles, big schools of pelagics and dolphins, as well as being a home to critically endangered species such as guitar sharks, napoleon wrasse and bump head parrot fish. The rock is also a resting point for many seafaring birds and a breeding site for Sooty Turns. 

Kinyika is also an area of great importance for local fisheries, using varying techniques from bottom fishing, nets and lobster diving.

However this area is being affected by an increase in destructive fishing and in the number of fishermen from outside the area. We hope protecting this area will combat the steady decrease in fish catches and habitat destruction.

Find out more in our blog post.

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First Steps

We conducted a scientific coral reef and fish survey with researchers from CORDIO at Kiweni, Tenewe, and Kinyika ecosystems, to access the status of the coral reefs and the fisheries resources in relation to fishing activity and climate change threats.  This survey was funded by our long standing partners Tusk Trust.


Following that process we needed community buy in for the concept, this was done by holding community meetings with the 10 stakeholder BMUs to discuss setting up the Kinyika fishing ground as a co-managed marine area. During this discussion we screened Bahari Yetu, a short film narrated in Swahili and filmed in Lamu, mainly around Kinyika. Showing the BMU members the beauty of the underwater world that they fish. We also shared results from the scientific surveys and lesson learnt from Kiweni coral reef conservancy were shared. Followed by a focus group discussion with the BMUs community members on resource mapping, threats, opportunities, and their role in fisheries management, to improve their understanding on the need for a co-managed marine area at Kinyika fishing ground. This process was co-funded by the Lamu Environment Foundation,


To officially set up the JCMA we were hugely appreciative to partner with Blue Ventures, an organisation that has ample experience in setting up portected marine areas and the funding to support us. 

Where are we now?

From the 10 identified BMUs, that are located on Lamu, Manda and the mainland adjacent to Kinyika, we arrange meetings with each community to share knowledge of the area and identify the roles individuals played in each BMU. From there we set up a core committee as well as identified the data collectors of each BMU.

This years focus is on training the data collectors on the importance of data collection and how to use the KOBO app to log the different species caught, gear used and location of catches. This data will great help us on the governance and mapping of the JCMA. There will also be several trainings and exchanges held for capacity building.  

Through our BMU visits we have also discussed possible alternative livelihoods that may be of interest to the community, we can provide guidance and support with the implementation and management of these alternatives. 

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