Sustainability of Marine Fisheries in Malindi-Ungwana Bay in Kenya
Sustainability is a fundamental issue in the exploitation and management of fisheries resources both in Kenya and the rest of the world. This study is motivated by the fact that thousands of households whose livelihood depend on the fisheries resources at the Malindi-Ungwana bay are faced with uncertainty over the sustainability of these resources due to increase in unsustainable fishing practices. Fisheries management will improve if a clear understanding of the factors that influence fish harvesting and sustainability is obtained. This study therefore investigates the factors that influence fish harvesting, the relationship between fish yield and fishing effort, the maximum sustainable yield of the shallow water prawn fishery and the plausible policy measures to enhance optimal utilization of the fishery. The study has established that the type of fish caught is influenced by type of gear used and location of the fishing ground. The results also show that there is a statistically significant positive relationship between the rate of fish catch and particular fishing effort variables namely size of the fishing vessel (in terms of size of crew and type and size of fishing gears used), number of fishing hours per day, age of the head of a fishing unit, and level of education attained by the head of a fishing unit. In addition, the maximum sustainable yield for the shallow water prawn fishery has been estimated using the Schaefer's surplus production model to be 448 tonnes of prawns per year. Fishing effort at this maximum sustainable yield is estimated at 5 prawn trawlers fishing at a time. The studv has concluded that fishing effort is the main determinant of the rate of fish harvest. The study- recommends that size of fishing vessels, time spent in harvesting fisheries resources, age of a fishing unit head and the level of education attained by the head of a fishing unit are important variables in the artisanal fishery that should be targeted by policy makers for manipulation in order to maximize benefits from the fisheries. The elasticities of fish yield with respect to each of these variables have been estimated and should be considered while taking fisheries management decisions. In the shallow water prawn fishery, a maximum of five trawlers should be licensed to operate in each year and they should land a maximum of 448 tonnes of prawns per year.
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