The Watamu Beach Management Unit (BMU) was originally established in 2004. The BMU is a community based fishing organisation which was developed to help monitor the coastal area of Watamu, which was previously Government controlled.
One of the aims of the BMU is to provide a trustworthy, professional body and service which can mediate between fishermen to reduce internal and external conflicts. They also provide support to strengthen the management of fishing landing stations and the aquatic environment, as well as provide support for sustainable development of the Fishery sector in the Watamu area.
They work closesly with the local community to help eliminate poverty and to provide support for local groups such as Women and their role in the Fishery sector. They aim to help improve the health, welfare, and livelihood of the members through improved planning and resource management. The BMU also provides training within management and conservation to help built the capacity of their members.
The BMU closesly monitors the fisheries and fishing products in Watamu to ensure a consistently high standard.
The BMU organises and actions beach-clean up operations for many members of Madrassa and the local community to be involved with.
Younger members of the community (Children between 10-15 years old) are also invited to be involved in these activities in order to further educate the next generation in the importance of beach management, wildlife protection and conservation. The BMU works closely with organisations such as Watamu Marine Association (WMA) and Kenyan Marine Mammal Network for Dolphin and Whale Data, providing feedback about marine mammal sightings within the area. This significantly helps research and conservation efforts in the local area. They also work with the Watamu branch of the Kenya Association of Sea Angler’s who have supported their sustainable fisheries program and also more recently the Watamu Fishing Association. They have also received training from CORDIO (Coastal Oceans Research and Development in the Indian Ocean) on sustainable fishing practices.
Current BMU Projects and Projects in development The BMU is currently working to refine data forms for fisheries to ensure that any information recorded about the local area, and the information recorded about populations of sea mammals in the local area, are as accurate as possible. It is also in the process of developing educative talks and courses on conservation within Watamu, and management courses for local individuals who need further education to reach their full potential within management roles. These courses will also hopefully allow the community further income when working within sustainable projects. The BMU is also planning to become more involved with the local community in terms of local talent and providing a platform to provide local income. They hope to work with local dance groups, for example, to help them become established as a tourist attraction within the Watamu area. It is also currently working with the younger population to provide opportunity for sport/games within the local area. This provides both an opportunity for a healthy lifestyle, and an outlet within the local community to learn new skills and meet new people.
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