They’re celebrating their catch, hauling in 100s of kilos of fish - everything from barracuda to a giant stingray.


This is Malindi, a small fishing town on the coast of Kenya, where a labourer earns less than 5 pounds a day.


But, in the last few months local fishermen have been netting huge catches, earning themselves over 50 times the average daily wage.


Rosie SOT: So how much do you make in one day


SOT: “you can make even 20,000 or 50,000 a day"


SOT: "yesterday I made 20,000, I got a big shark"


The reason – Somali Pirates, who have scared off the international trawlers that have previously ravaged Kenya’s fish stocks - decimating a one and half billion pound industry which provides a quarter of the world's supply of tuna.


SOT  “We are happy about the Pirates, we are happy,  if those big ships they are very far, not here at the seashore".


SOT  "We are happy the ships are not coming this side - if the ships are coming this side all the fish disappear."


It’s not only the local fishermen who are benefiting. Sports fishermen are enjoying their best season in over four decades.


As the sun rose, I joined captain Massood and his crew for a day’s deep-sea fishing.


The hooks were baited and within moments


SOT  “Sailfish, sit in the chair”


SOT  “quick, quick, wind, wind, wind”


Rosie: "I saw it jumping in the air"


Rosie: "It feels like a whale not a fish"


Sports’ fishing operates a tag and release policy, returning all fish to the water a throw back to when fish numbers were low  – exceeding anything Masood has seen before.


SOT Masood   This year the season was very good - I have never seen a season like it - there were plenty of Sailfish, Marlin, Whahoo, King fish, Gentraveli - it really it was fantastic this season.


For sports fishermen, unprecedented fish numbers brings tourists. Something that Kenya, after recent election violence and ongoing drought, desperately needs.


I asked world record holding sports fisherman, Angus Paul, whose family have been fishing professionally in the area for 44 years, why he thought the fishing was so good.


SOT: " Pirates, they are pushing the big commercial  purse sainers and long liners further and further away or not allowing them to fish at all -  in the old days you would look out there at night and see  7 or 8 trawers dredging, mainly looking for prawns and having a by catch of over 90 % - the by catch is all the smaller bait fish that they are not looking for that they just discard - so you would go past them and see acres and acres of dead fish.


Marine biologist and sea conservationist, Steve Trott, makes a direct correlation between the retreat of the factory ships and revived fish stocks.


SOT: All the indicators are there that the fishery is recovering. I think that is the strongest indicator yet that these commercial scale fleets have been having a destructive impact on our Kenyan fisheries.


With only one patrol boat at their disposal, and thousands of miles of ocean , preventing illegal fisheries has been an impossible task for the Kenyan fishery department. Something, ironically, the pirates are taking care of.


On this occasion, it's the Kenyan locals, not the pirates who are jumping for joy and are enjoying an unexpected gold rush. 


© 2021 Journeyman Pictures
Journeyman Pictures Ltd. 4-6 High Street, Thames Ditton, Surrey, KT7 0RY, United Kingdom

This site uses cookies. By continuing to use this site you are agreeing to our use of cookies. For more info see our Cookies Policy