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Kiweni, Lamu Archipelago


Conservation benefit: Establishment of a 741-acre community managed marine conservation area for 10 years

Community benefit: Moorings for boundary demarcation and anchorage, snorkel gear, solar inverter system, communication and other equipment

Date Approved: 05.2009


This project protects ocean ecosystems, making coastal communities more economically and physically secure in the face of climate change.

The Lamu Archipelago extends from the Kenya-Somalia border to the Tana Delta, incorporating the North Banks and the Dodori channels. It’s an enormous area, covering approximately 2,340 square miles. It is also a priority conservation area, and Lamu Island is a designated World Heritage Site. The coastal and marine resources in the archipelago are increasingly under threat from over-harvesting of corals, pelagic fish, sea turtles, and invertebrates. Destructive practices such as beach seining, fishing with drift nets, and coral mining damage the environment.

Lamu Marine Conservation Trust, a local community-based organization, wishes to establish a 741-acre community-managed marine protected area. Protection of the Kiweni MPA will last for at least 10 years. The area will include ecologically fragile coral reefs and fish feeding, breeding, and spawning sites. They will also continue to monitor turtle nesting sites on Lamu and Manda Islands, and conduct environmental education in four schools on Lamu Island.

Seacology will provide funding to buy boundary demarcation buoys, moorings for anchorage, snorkel gear, a solar inverter system, and digital camera. The grant will also support monitoring of the conservation area, by funding a communication system (radios, etc.) and two bandas (shelters) for patrollers.

Project Updates

January 2011

According to Seacology Field Representative Dishon Murage, construction of the minor banda (shelter/guard station) on Manda Island at Takwa is complete; it is expected to contribute to ecotourism by accommodating visitors, scouts and volunteers on night turtle patrols. The solar inverter system has been installed at the major banda on Pate Island. The banda is used by visitors on turtle patrols and also by the village to generate revenue. Conservation activities have continued to generate a lot of interest and benefits within the island; during this reporting period a total of 5,500 baby turtles were successfully released. During the same time, the Lamu Marine Conservation Trust (LAMCOT) has monitored and safely released 400 juvenile and adult tagged turtles back to the sea in collaboration with the local fishermen, and tourists visiting the area. LAMCOT sponsors four environmental clubs involving 100 children who study marine conservation issues every week. The organization also held a beach cleanup event at Shella village in September. The project has come to a successful close.

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June 2010

It was reported that the main community banda in Pate is complete and the solar system has been installed. Architectural plans for a minor banda to be located in Takwa Village on Manda Island are being drafted, and funding has been procured from other sources for additional surveillance equipment for the conservation area. Multiple community meetings have been held to raise awareness of the conservation area, demarcation buoys have been installed, and uniforms and gear have been purchased for conservation area wardens. Plans are still underway to install the VHF radio on the main banda, produce and distribute pamphlets to local hoteliers and community members, and to expand the mobile education program to Pate children.

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March 2010

Field representative Dishon Murage reports that the main community banda in Pate is nearing completion; this banda will be the base for the VHF radio for communication plus a solar power system and also will be used for educational seminars and lectures. Plans for the rest of 2010 include installation of the VHF radio and solar power system, construction of the second banda, as well as production of more educational pamphlets and brochures for distribution to hoteliers and community members, and extension of the mobile education program for Pate children.

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December 2009

As of December 2009 community members drawn from Shanga, Pate, Lamu and Shella have mapped and demarcated the 3 km2 conservation area and a total of 12 mooring and demarcation buoys are already onsite. With the employment of community scouts and support from the Fisheries Department, patrols conducted within the conservation area were able to confiscate illegal fishing gear as a measure to implement regulations relating to the conservation area. Additionally snorkeling gear, some equipment for the mooring establishment and a project camera have been purchased.

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October 2009

As of September 2009, LamCOT has begun visiting local villages to discuss the process of creating the MPA, as well as the changes that this project will bring. Visiting the village of Pate, on Pate Island, as well as the nearby village of Shanga, LamCOT representatives met for several hours with the locals, many of whom use the MPA for subsistence fishing. The representatives shared the Seacology community covenant in both English and Swahili and explained the various aspects of the project and implications of the MPA’s creation. Villagers in Shanga, who often rely on the destructive beach seine in their fishing practices, expressed their willingness to work with LamCOT to ensure sustainable management of the MPA.

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