Sand Island Beach, as a turtle nesting site, is a member of the Kenya Sea Turtle Conservation Committee (KESCOM) and is supported in its conservation bid by Turtle Watch which – when we queried how we might extend our efforts - suggested the idea of promoting sustainable fishing.
Having introduced the concept of marine conservation to local fishermen through a number of workshops, they have formed an association and are clearly dedicated to the project and are anxious to preserve the reef and by extension their livelihoods.
Funds generated through Sand Island's efforts (including hiring out snorkeling equipment to guests who don't have or forget their own) mean the fishermen now own an outboard motor and a deep freeze to stock surplus catch during slower months.
The fishermen have demarcated an area in front of Sand Island as a no-go, no-net area. A number will gladly accompany guests on reef walks or take you snorkelling. Some run ngalo-trips to the Starfish Gardens north of the beach, and are all full of useful and interesting sea-creature knowledge which they are happy to impart.
The preservation of a marine environment is a constant and relentless battle: poverty in Africa means hunger is a more pressing problem for most than saving the World. We strive to educate the fishing community that sustainable fishing is the key: allowing juveniles to grow and breed means there's more fish for tomorrow. And for tomorrow's generation.
You can help us safeguard this precious environment by:
Encouraging the fishermen by buying their catch whilst reminding them you're after big fish
Not removing anything from the sea
Trying not to tread on or touch delicate and brittle corals
Never buying shells or starfish.