Stop Overfishing and Preserve Kenya Marine Life

by Africa Conservation Trust

Below is an excerpt of my recent visit.

“It’s the difference between chalk and cheese!” Adam said, as he climbed out of the boat and into the ocean. We were off the coast of Kenya, examining the coral reefs. Just an hour earlier, Adam had taken us to an otherwise healthy reef just a few miles away from this one. He gave me a snorkel and urged me to look at the life below. The first reef was covered in low lying green weeds. No fish were anywhere. After about ten minutes I was able to locate a handful of little ones. But here at the reef inside a protected marine sanctuary, fish glided past in such numbers as you might expect on the L.A. freeway. I reached out to grab one and missed it by inches. Below the weeds grew taller and swayed in the undercurrents. Among the reef weeds I saw a few large fish. There were brilliant blue ones, striped ones, and a pair of yellow and blue ones I swear I’d seen in a fishtank in an expensive restaurant. Only these were three times in size. I popped my head out of the water. “This is what I mean,” Adam said. “The first area is officially a marine reserve and only ‘traditional fishing’ techniques are allowed there. But there are just too many fishermen these days.” “Why don’t the fish migrate from here over to there?” I asked. “Oh they do, and each morning ever last fish is scooped up.” Our confidence in unlimited resources is so strong that we feel it in a proverbial sense. “There are plenty of fish in the sea,” one might say to another in discussing the problems of men and women. Adam invited us here to tell you there are not. Adam Tuller founded the Africa Conservation Trust about 10 years ago. As a fourth generation Kenyan (of British descent), Adam works to merge economic and environmental sustainability into all of his projects. “You have to begin with people,” he said. “Because they are the ones causing problems for the animals.” The Kenyan government recently recognized his lifetime of effort in parks and the ocean to restore health by making him an honorary warden of the wildlife service. “It’s more than just honorary,” Adam added. “I have the power to arrest poachers. And I have used it on the many occasions we happened to come across them.” Even on our routine day trip to the marine park, Adam is upset. He is staring at the sonar, which measures the depth and the number of fish below. “People have been poaching,” he says. “There are usually more fish than this. You can see why it is so important that we build more artificial reefs.”

Exotic Marine Life is Slowly Disappearing
Exotic Marine Life is Slowly Disappearing

Due to Global Warming the coasts of Kenya and especially the people are suffering at unprecedented rates. With extreme heat and humidity, climate change is causing inflation, which in turn is causing even more extreme poverty. Fishermen that once could provide easily for their families now are reduced to begging in many cases. The empty nets are causing empty stomachs!

Thanks to your support we have been able to work with the local fishermen in teaching them how to protect the waters and in turn, how protecting the waters will bring them more fish.

Global Giving just evaluated our project and gave Africa Conservation Trust excellent reviews. It was our pleasure to host the Global Giving team in Kenya which helped audit our program. Check out our evaluation under our project "Trees and Water for Masai in Kenya".

With support from Kenya Wildlife Service (KWS), we are expecting to begin construction of the artificial reef in 2010. This reef will enable fish, especially exotic fish to repopulate themselves in a protected area. It is nearly impossible to control the overfishing, thus the need for protected areas run by the local fishermen.

As marine animals continue to die on the coast of Kenya, due to climate change and human intrusion, Kenya is in need of your assistance to ensure the marine biodiversity remains intact. The government is unable to handle the problem, thus we have partnered with local organizations to bring the awareness to the community about the need to protect the ocean.

Last month the US Ambassador to Kenya officially recognized Africa Conservation Trust, in conjunction with our partner Hacienda, for its great work with the environment in Mombasa, Kenya. The Ambassador spent several hours with our staff and it is great to have the endorsement of the US government.

A continued thanks to Blue Marine Diving for assisting in our diving instruction and boating needs. Blue Marine has trained our workers in all phases of diving, boating and marine safety.

Thanks again for your continued support. Your donation can help change the lives of poor fisherman and help increase their chances of survival through job creating programs. The oceans are a precious resource so we cannot wait any longer. Likewise, Global Warming is causing major storms and flooding on the coast which is why your donation can help save lives!

Local Fishermen Learning how to Dive
Local Fishermen Learning how to Dive
Building a Coral Reef is Hard Work
Building a Coral Reef is Hard Work


Illegal fishing is big in Kenya
Illegal fishing is big in Kenya

More and more fishermen are steadily overfishing the Kenya coast. We find nets daily with exotic fish and they even take the coral reef for fish tanks in America and Europe. The problem is that with all the fish gone, the aquatic biodiversity is suffering and hence, the people who live off the water are suffering the most.

Kenya Wildlife Service has endorsed our marine project. Adam Tuller, our Chairman, has written a Marine Parks Management guideline for the Kenyan government and soon we will be implementing our project all across the Kenyan coast.

In the meantime, the fishermen are suffering dramatically and could use your assistance. Overfishing, especially by Tanzanian and Somalian fishermen is destroying what was once a vibrant ecosystem. Turtles are the most affected, but even whales are not showing up as often as the past. It is a crisis situation as you can walk down any beach and you will see men with nets, illegally fishing the waters. Our main problem is security. There is a lack of oversight for the marine parks and in addition, corruption has caused the Rangers to look the other way.

Thank you for helping ACT conserve marine life in Kenya. Also, your donations have made it possible for 20 people to begin a new career in marine conservation. These fishermen are finding new skills and new opportunities thanks to your continued support.

PS. All undersea photos are taken by Lynee Tuller, Adam's wife. She is the most amazing photographer I have ever known.

Exotic fish are becoming scarce
Exotic fish are becoming scarce
Nets and traps are the worst enemy to marine conservation
Nets and traps are the worst enemy to marine conservation
Fishermen are poaching the coast
Fishermen are poaching the coast

Overfishing has become a worldwide phenomenon, especially in Africa. The coastline of Kenya is literally becoming a desert. The El Nino of 1988 infliced considerable damage to the reefs, resulting in the bleaching of the coral.

We are engaged with the Kanami fishing group on the coast of Kenya as we begin a pioneering process which includes training fishermen on how to build a new style of artificial reef, and then how to manage it to be continuously productive in the long-term.

The process will proved relief to the rest of the marine environment to begin recovering from the severe deprivations and degradation of weather and overfishing.

Thank you for your support and helping us combat global warming!

Children have hard lives on the coast
Children have hard lives on the coast
Coral fish used to be abundant in Kenya
Coral fish used to be abundant in Kenya

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Organization Information

Africa Conservation Trust

Location: Nairobi, Central Province - Kenya
Website: http:/​/​
Africa Conservation Trust
Project Leader:
Adam Tuller
Chief Executive Officer
Nairobi, Kenya

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