About 7,000 fishermen in Lamu County are set to benefit from capacity-building and training as part of a compensation package for those whose trade has been affected by the ongoing construction of the Lamu Port.
Lapsset Corridor Development Authority Director General Sylvester Kasuku, however, ruled out full monetary cash payment to the fishermen disrupted by the dredging exercise.
“It is impractical to compensate the affected fishermen with full cash transfers as it is not economically viable. Instead, the authority will build a fishing port, a modern fish storage and processing zone, modern fishing gear equipment and training for the affected fishermen,” he said.
Mr Kasuku said capacity building will be more transformative in terms of evolving the cottage fishing industries in Lamu into full-scale fish processing and export industries in which the fishermen can reap better returns.
For lack of infrastructure, many fisherman rely on the activity for subsistence and not so much as gainful employment. Mr Kasuku said this will change with the proposed fishing port, which will be part of the larger Lamu Port.
“Building a fishing port and creating capacity for local fishermen will enable them to venture into the deep sea to exploit the rich exclusive economic zone,” he said.
According to the Environmental and Social Impact Plan and the Resettlement Action Plan, the fishermen had been expecting a total compensation package of at least Sh950 million following their displacement from the Lamu port area.
Off the table
The decision on capacity-building, said Mr Kasuku, was made by a joint taskforce of Lapsset authority, national and county Government officials.
Lamu County Executive for Fisheries Grace Mburu said that as much as the issue of full cash transfers was off the table, fishermen would still get financial aid with respect to capacity-building.
“Fishermen will be compensated by way of training, given new engines and also cash for buying fuel to start modern fishing enterprises,” she said.