Tradition + Turkana Lake



Aurora Men still fish with traditional handwoven nets along the shores of Lake Turkana in Kenya’s northwest corner.


Before sunrise, Turkana fishermen with traditional wicker baskets prepare to fish for tilapia in the shallow waters of Lake Turkana using lighted faggots to attract the fish.


GVI Kenya is currently involved in a new project taking place in Mkwiro Village, which aims to promote coral reef sustainable fisheries. Partnering with Wildlife Conservation Society, the project looks at the fishing activity within the Mpunguti Marine Reserve, experimenting sustainable alternatives to reduce the risk of overfishing.
The reserve, where only traditional fishing methods are permitted (basket traps and hook and line fisheries) is considered a very productive fishing ground providing a vital socio-economic support to local communities. However, overfishing and unsustainable fishing techniques are greatly degrading these ecosystems.We are exploring a gear-based management approach by experimenting a modified gear (gated fish trap) in order to investigate its selectivity and thus reduce bycatch and promote sustainably practices, without compromising fishermen’s income.
The traditional basket traps are unselective and catch a variety of target (high value fish) and non target species and juvenile individuals. One strategy for reducing this bycatch is to modify the traditional basket traps (malemas) with rectangular escape gaps (2.0cm x 30cm), allowing juveniles and deep bodied slender species to escape. Juvenile fish will then be able to breed and contribute to the recovery of the fisheries, and eco-tourism activities can expand as a result of higher ornamental fish biomass.

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