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Kenya’s Shekue named 2014 Seacology Prize winner

July 17, 2014

We are excited to announce that this year’s winner is ‘Professor’ Ali Shaibu Shekue from Kenya.

Though not a professor in the literal sense, Shekue is recognized throughout Kenya for his knowledge and skill pertaining to artisanal fisheries. He is among the few remaining old fishermen, and throughout his lifetime he has witnessed people being dispossessed from their fishing grounds and the loss of traditional fisheries management practices. As a result of these changes, Shekue observed a drastic decline in fisheries resources, the destruction of habitats, and an increase in illegal fishing activities. Rather than remaining silent, he began working to mobilize local communities and in 2002 the first community-managed marine protected area in Mkokoni, Kiunga was created because of his efforts.

Shekue’s oratory skills and unmatched knowledge of the local fisheries gave him a distinct advantage when talking to communities, and he has since been appointed to various positions including as the Chairman of the Kiweni Project Implementation Committee, which is in charge of a Seacology-funded community marine protected area. He also edits and publishes Mwambao, a quarterly newsletter written in Swahili, and recently began a project to document and encourage the use of traditional fishing practices.

Shekue will be officially awarded the Seacology Prize on Thursday, October 9 in Berkeley, California. Click here for more information about the Seacology Prize and here to see the list of previous winners.

As always, the ceremony is free and open to the public, but seating is limited, so make sure to reserve your spot as soon as possible if you’d like to attend.