You may have seen our recent blog post calling for partners to support the proposed Kinyika co-managed marine area (CMA) and you may be wondering why this area? Well, let us tell you.
Kinyika is a small island lying 4kms off the Kenyan Coast, 17kms South West from Shella Village in the Lamu Archipelago. It is a snorkelling attraction for tourist visiting Lamu, drawn by the multitude of fish species protected by its rocky shoreline and the chance of seeing the playful dolphins that are attracted by this abundance of fish.
Due to its location close to shore but also close to the first drop off of the open ocean, the island is a unique habitat. The rocky outcrop is an important breeding ground for Sooty Turns who raise their chicks above the high tide mark. The shallow area facing land is a mix of sandy floor, seagrass and coral reef, acting as the perfect fish nursery. Finally, the open ocean side, dropping a bit deeper, brings in an array of schooling fish
using the rocky shore as protection. There is a resident school of endangered bumphead parrotfish and a couple of Napoleon Wrasse, it is also a nursery for black tip sharks. Big shoals of snappers, surgeon fish, fusiliers, jacks and the occasional pelagics like greater barracuda and giant trevally have also been observed. Bottlenose dolphins are residents of the area, and whale shark, grey reef shark, white tip reef shark, spotted eagle ray and guitar fish can be sighted, if you're lucky. This diversity of environments and species, especially the many endangered species, is one of the main reasons for the need to protect it.
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 who come in looking for more fish as they have depleted stocks from where they come from. This is adding more pressure on an already strained fisheries, especially as these outside fishermen do not have the local knowledge about where, when and how to fish and can be destructive to the marine
environment. To be able to avoid further environmental degradation and retain healthy fisheries a proper management plan for the Lamu fisheries is necessary, embracing the knowledge of old and making sure everyone benefits.
To combat the steady decrease in fish catches and habitat destruction a more wholistic management approach is necessary starting with the setting up of a small CMA at Kinyika that can act as a refuge, breading ground and seeding ground for the Lamu bay. This will be part of a much larger project, with Fisheries and the Lamu County Government, to put in place an effective Ocean Use Plan for Lamu County to sustainably utilise its Blue Economy; focusing on enhancing fisheries, conservation of important marine habitats and benefiting the livelihood of the people of Lamu.
“To conserve the diversity, abundance and ecological integrity of all physical and biological resources in and around Kinyika, so that it may act as a breeding area for marine life with the aim to also populate the surrounding marine environment, increasing fisheries and be enjoyed and used productively by present and future generations.”