The Secretary General of SOMESHA and the African Federation of Environmental Journalists (AFEJ) H.E. Mr. Daud Abdi Daud traveled to the coastal region of Kenya and landed MIO International Airport in Mombasa on Wednesday evening, November 19 as he was taken part a forum of media organizations from East and Southern Africa countries, in conflict prevention management, resolution and climate change effects at laico regency hotel in Nairobi over the last four days organized by COMESA and UNDP.
Mr. Daud was invited to attend a two days meeting that is offered for journalists and researchers in the East African region to share information and explore potential for collaboration in publishing and research on the theme of sustainable fisheries development and the rights of small-scale fishing communities scheduled to take place from November 20 to 21, 2013 in at Titanic hotel in Kilifi district. Organized by the Coalition for Fair Fisheries Arrangements (CFFA) and the Community Action for Nature Conservation (CANCO).
The objective of this meeting is to share ideas on how journalists and other NGOs in the region can strengthen the role of the media in addressing issues affecting fisheries. This may involve identifying ways to improve information sharing, support to journalists in publicizing their stories at home and aborad, ad-hoc collaboration on more in-depth investigative journalism and perhaps even applying for grants/funding.
The participants who are from the East African region including Kenya, Somalia and Tanzania are also celebrating together regionally the World Fishing Day as was recognized globally that November 21 is the official World Fishing Day and trying to heal openly the challenges and opportunities within the regional coastal community.
Fisheries in East Africa play an important economic and social role, while also being a critical source of food for millions of people. While men tend to do most of the catching of fish, women play a more important role in the post harvest sector, including fish processing and trade. East Africa is also an important region for industrial fishing, with large of number of foreign firms engaged in fishing for off-shore and coastal species.
However, there are various factors that work to undermine the sector and threaten its ability to support livelihoods, food security and national wealth. Many coastal communities remain extremely poor and their ability to maximize income from fisheries is limited by insufficient access to credit, unfair trade arrangements, and lack of basic infrastructure. Small-scale fishing can also be unsustainable, meaning the abundance of fish is decreasing and fishers spend more time catching less. At the same time fishing communities are vulnerable due to insecure land rights, infrastructure developments linked to tourism, mining and agriculture, and potentially due to loss of fishing grounds to marine protected areas.