Keep in Touch

Subscribe to stay up to date on Seacology’s events, trips, and projects.

  • Email Address
  • This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.



Pate and Wasini Islands


Conservation benefit: Support of a 1,532-acre sustainable fishing area

Community benefit: Sustainable fishing program using modified traditional fish traps with escape gaps

Date Approved: 06.2013


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

The Kenyan coastline stretches along the Indian Ocean for almost 400 miles, from the Somalia border south to Tanzania. It is richly endowed with coral reefs, seagrass beds, fisheries, and mangrove forests. Increasing populations, limited livelihood options, and climate change, however, are exerting pressure on these valuable marine resources. Illegal fishing practices, overfishing, and pollution have led to declining fish catches and loss of reefs and seagrass beds. Fishing regulations are not well enforced. Illegal fishing gear, such as beach seines, small-mesh nets, and monofilament nets, has proliferated. However, traditional fishing gear, such as the basket trap and fence trap, remains popular.

This Seacology grant will promote the use of specially modified traditional fish traps with escape gaps. These traps reduce risks to sensitive coral reef ecosystems. They reduce the incidental catch of juvenile and non-target species, including sea turtles, by letting these creatures escape.

Seacology has funded previous successful projects on Wasini and Pate Islands, and both communities strongly support continued conservation efforts. Seacology’s support will allow the purchase of 70 traps of traditional design, but constructed with longer-lasting modern materials. These traps will be distributed to fishers who have already shown enthusiastic support for this more sustainable fishing method. They will use the traps in the waters around Wasini and Pate, where restricted fishing areas totaling 1,532 acres have already been established.

Project Updates

May 2017

3CD, the coordinating NGO, generated and distributed awareness materials during the last four months, and this project has been completed.

Read more

January 2016

Due to the recent passing of “Professor” Ali Shaibu Shekue, 2014 Seacology Prize recipient and Lamu (Pate) project leader, there have been delays in the monitoring of trap use. East Africa Field Representative Dishon Murage is following up with other leaders in Lamu, as well as the fishers from Wasini who received the traps. Dishon has observed fishers from outside the project area beginning to use traps that they are modifying themselves.

Read more

January 2015

Construction of 100 more traps for the Pate community has been delayed for several months, but the traps should be finished by the end of February 2015.

Read more

June 2014

Between January and April 2014, a total of 100 traditional traps with escape gaps were distributed to ten traditional fishers from Wasini Island. In April, a week-long sensitization program was held for both Pate and Wasini fishers on the benefits of the traditional traps equipped with escape gaps. Fishers receiving the traps also had to exchange the traps they had been using, to ensure that the new traps would not increase pressure on the limited fishing resources available. Construction of the traps was undertaken by a local fisher using locally available, biodegradable materials. This means that traps lost during fishing expeditions will not continue fishing (ghost fishing) as they will degrade. Still to come is the distribution of the escape gap-equipped traditional traps for the Pate Island fishing communities.

Read more

February 2014

A meeting was conducted with Beach Management Unit (BMU) members from Wasini where information on the traditional traps with escape gaps was disseminated. During the meeting, participants were also informed of the planned review of the BMU By-laws to identify appropriate sustainable fishing methods including the traditional basket traps with escape gaps. A total of 10 traditional basket trap fishers have been identified and an exchange program for an initial total of 60 traditional traps has been initiated. Construction of the traps for the Wasini village fishers is currently on-going. A meeting with the Pate BMU Executive Committee has been held. A sensitization meeting with the BMU fishers is set for February after the program is rolled out in Wasini. Rolling out the program for Wasini Village has been relatively easy due to the easy access to information on escape gaps from the neighboring community of Mkwiro. In addition, some community members from the island had already received training on how to construct traditional basket traps with escape gaps. A training for one community member from Pate to learn how to construct the traps is planned for the last week of January. Once the sponsored community member receives the training, the program will be rolled out in Pate.

Read more
- +

Full or partial funding for this project provided by Seacology Japan.