Over the last ten years, fisheries management in Kenya has evolved from a top-down to a bottom-up model with the government embracing more the concept of co-management. This has seen local communities participate actively in governance, natural resource protection, monitoring and participatory research. Many different organizations and actors have been involved in this trend, including NGOs, government agencies and scientists.
Beach Management Units (BMUs) are recognised as the basal governance institution under the fisheries structure and are a great step in improving capacity of local communities towards management. Since their inception on the Kenya coast in 2006, CORDIO has been on the forefront of improving capacity of BMUs to sustainably manage their natural resources and thus contribute to improved BMU governance and ultimately fisheries management.
Fisher self-help groups and BMUs have been used to address issues of declining fisheries and sustainability through development and establishment of marine Community Conservation Areas (CCA). Management of CCAs requires communities to be well equipped with relevant tools and materials, such as in conducting monitoring.
Building on earlier work with fisher groups, in 2014 CORDIO developed a new training manual on community coral reef monitoring, and conducted a specialised BMU training. The focus of the manual was on presenting easy to understand methods for community based natural resource monitoring, based on four monitoring methods: point intercept transect for benthic substrates, belt transects for fish, belt transect for macro-invertebrates and 1uadrats for sea urchins.
The training brought together 16 fishers from two counties (Kwale – 9 fishers and Kilifi – 7 fishers) representing 5 BMUs along the Kenya coast. This saw a unique exchange of scientific information, local knowledge on fisheries and monitoring methodologies, between BMU participants and CORDIO scientists.
The manual will be available here when completed.