Category Archives: Community




The Lamu archipelago extends from the Kenya/Somalia border to the Tana Delta incorporating the North Banks and the Dodori channels and covers an area of approximately 2,340 square miles. It is a priority conservation area, with Lamu Island a designated World Heritage Site.

The coastal and marine resources in the archipelago are increasingly under threat from over-harvesting of resources i.e. corals, pelagic fish, marine turtles, invertebrates; and the use of destructive and unsustainable methods for resource exploitation such as beach seining, drift nets and coral mining.

Lamu Marine Conservation Trust (LamCOT), a locally registered community based organization, wishes to establish a 741-acre community managed marine protected area encompassing ecologically fragile coral reefs, fish feeding, breeding and spawning sites. They also wish to continue support patrols and monitoring of turtle nesting sites on Lamu and Manda islands, and education and awareness in four local schools on Lamu Island. In exchange for the establishment of this marine protected area, Seacology has provided funds to purchase boundary demarcation buoys, moorings for anchorage, snorkel gear, a communication system (radios etc.) to support patrol and monitoring of the conservation area, two bandas (shelters) to accommodate patrolling scouts, a solar inverter system for electricity to the system, and a digital camera.



Lamu archipelago a World Heritage Site is a biodiversity hotspot with a rich coral reef and mangrove ecosystem.
Fishing and tourism provide the main economic livelihoods for the local communities on the island. 

The marine resources however face various environmental and anthropogenic challenges such as incidences of coral bleaching associated with climate change,
over exploitation and degradation of the local fisheries and mangrove forests.


Manda Toto is located at northern part on Lamu archipelago. It is the only snorkeling place remains in Lamu.
Nevertheless, people are exploiting it: aquarium fishing, illegal fishing methods by locals and foreigners, ornamental fishing etc. is really pushing this asset on the wall.

The Trust has the aim to develop a holistic approach to conservation and management of the marine resources for the benefit of local communities and livelihoods.
One of the Trust objectives is to raise awareness on the existing problem locally, regionally and internationally i.e. by protecting Manda Toto.

Lamu Marine with collaboration from both other community organizations, such as BMUs of Lamu and Government agencies,
would like to demarcate the most crucial and important fishing zone of Manda Toto. 
Kiruwitu Conservancy near Kilifi is a good example of a community project which has successfully implemented the idea; almost 2km2 is protected and controlled by the existing laws.  Now the community are rejoicing the fruit of their handwork and dedication, why not us!?

Lamu Marine has already taken an initiative and it is now creating synergies on the ground to protect it. 
First it has already conducted a trip with 10 people (Fishermen leaders) down to Kiruwitu Conservancy for experiential learning,
second it has installed a mooring at the site (Manda Toto) for fishermen not to anchor on the corals as this is detrimental (Though one mooring is not enough at all). 
Now it is moving to the third step of awareness to the entire fishermen community, the fourth step is identification and demarcation of the zone.
The last for this first phase A, we are waiting to hear the response from the community, on how we are going to have a balance on the exploitation of the existing scarce resources, and how we are going to fight with the intruders.

Dear readers; please if you have any assistance, most welcome!

For more updates please keep visiting us.

Do You Know What Happened Last Week!!?

 Like father like son and like son like father!

This is my DAD salim.  He was fishing in side the Mangroove
channel in Lamu, Shela. Suddenly he fetl some thing heavy and
soo fast in taking his line out of his hand.  Just to let you
know that he was in his small canoe.

In the first place he thought of a big Shark, but after realizing
the way he was skeeing in his canoe he reflected back on what he
use to experience in the past. Yes, he was right, it was a big
Green Turtle.  Imagine he was unable to lift him 1.3 m
( as it was Male one) in to his canoe.  The canoa bellow was
really small to accomadate him. Another two fishermen went to
hep him and eventually he was loaded in ones of the other
fishermens’ canoe.

Like father like son and like son like father.  My father, new
what is it all about accidentally caught turtle and what does
it mean by tagging them rather than killing. We tagged him and
release him. We gave him his incentive.

Unfortunately, we didn’t get any sponsor as we are on off
season till end of next month.

By Atwaa Salim( Manager LamCoT)

Thank you Paula and the entire team at the Wildlife Direct.
The podcast embedded on our blog on my introduction to LamCoT
was really nice.  I am still on the RUN WAY.

Saving Turtles in Lamu – A podcast

When Atwaa first came to see us about setting up a blog about marine turtles in the Lamu archipelago I was captivated by his explanations about the project, his personal story, and the life cycle of the turtle. A local of the tiny island of Lamu just off the north coast of Kenya, his work has enormous impact on the local ancient communities and their views of turtles.

So when he came back to the office for training I recorded his stories to produce this podcast so that you can enjoy hearing about his groups work in his own words. Enjoy!


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The Miracle of Life

Who We Are…
The back bone of LamCoT is turtle conservation. In 1992 the rate of decline in turtle numbers was so extreme that Carol Korschen at Peponi Hotel decided to set up a project whereby the community were encouraged to protect turtles rather than kill them or take their eggs. The project has seen incredible results and has expanded hugely since then.



Ex poachers now patrol Shella Beach and Takwa Beach, Manda to prevent the illegal poaching of eggs and mark out new nest sites and monitor them until hatching.

Using a grant from Tusk, Donations from Nest and Tag, the local fishermen are paid incentives (depending on the size of the turtle) to bring in turtles caught in their nets accidentally to be measured, treated for any health problems, tagged and released.

These are two green turtles ready for release by sponsors.

LamCoT works under the umbrella organisation Kenya Sea Turtle Conservation Committee, KESCOM, collaborating with all turtle conservation groups up and down the Kenya Coast. Data collected on nesting, releasing, mortality and further activities concerning sustainability of biodiversity and ecosystem is sent to (KESCOM) and Tusk Trust together with the annual reports.

The turtle project has inspired leaders in the community to take it upon themselves to create awareness through the wider community and to establish a greater understanding and more sustainable use of the islands’ resources .


A community meeting with local fishermen on illegal fishing issues.

Atwaa Salim a Graduate from the University of Nairobi, who was coordinating the project via internate once at collage is now back to his community giving them a helping hand and in a full control.

Since then, the project was gaining momentum and by 2001 the project was at the threshold of prosperity. Evidence to that; clubs have been formed at different schools e.g. Shella, Ama, Matondoni and Kipungani.


Local school children on an exciting turtle education excursion.

The project started tree nurseries inconjuction with the school club. It has successfully managed to plant almost 50 seedlings of different species of trees at the airstrip.

The project is disseminating all the conservational information to the school children through videos. LaMCoT’s mobile education unit has been recently established, a projector donated by Tusk Trust. With a screen, projector, generator and video library compiled from many sources such as Wildlife Clubs of Kenya, our educational videos are shown all over Lamu, the mainland and other more inaccessible islands. We give a weekly, interactive class covering relevant local issues: Marine ecosystems, Agroforestry, recycling and AIDS awareness. And have field trips in the area for beach clean ups, nature walks.