Kenya’s northern coast, part of the Eastern Africa Biodiversity Hotspot, is home to globally important yet severely threatened marine species, coral reefs, seagrass meadows and mangroves. Over 100,000 people live along this coastline and are largely dependent on unsustainable fishing practices, such as the use of beach seine nets and monofilament fishing lines, for their livelihoods. FFI is working with local and international organisations to support the development of community-based natural resource management in Lamu, Tana River and Garissa counties.

To date, we have established four community conservancies to improve the livelihoods of local communities through the sustainable use of natural resources. Facing challenges and threats such as overfishing, destructive fishing practices, habitat destruction and pollution, FFI and partners have worked closely with fisher communities and government agencies to build conservation capacity, knowledge and awareness around these issues.


Our work in northern Kenya focuses on five key themes:

  • Strengthening conservancy governance, management and sustainability, which includes enhancing internal and external engagement and increasing sustainable funding sources.
  • Developing new livelihood options to reduce over-reliance on near-shore marine resources. This includes empowering fishers with the knowledge and incentives they need to participate in marine management and decision making.
  • Reducing fishing pressure in near-shore areas by setting up locally managed marine areas in order to ensure better management of fishing areas and reduce destructive fishing methods.
  • Reducing poaching and by-catch of sea turtles and marine mammals.
  • Improving community-based management of mangroves and reducing illegal logging.

Our work

Six locally managed marine areas have been established in Kenya through collaboration with local partners, and these are now being managed to protect coral reefs across stretches of the ocean.

In the Lamu-Tana seascape, we have supported the establishment of four community conservancies: Kiunga Community Conservancy, Pate Marine Community Conservancy, Awer Community Conservancy, and Lower Tana Delta Community Conservancy. Local communities have been supported to drive forward strict protection (having witnessed themselves how better-managed reefs lead to greater fish catches), and there are early signs that juvenile reef fish are becoming more abundant in these zones. We have also supported the start of a plastics clean-up project in Kiunga and are trialling a pilot ‘Fish-to-Market’ project in this area.

Key milestones

  • 2021

    A gear exchange programme is implemented to tackle illegal gear use.

  • 2019-2021

    Six locally managed marine areas are set up in Lamu County.

  • 2012

    FFI begins work in the region with The Northern Rangelands Trust and The Nature Conservancy.

Project partners

  • The Nature Conservancy
  • The Northern Rangelands Trust
  • Kenya Marine Research Fisheries Institute
  • Kenya Fisheries Department
  • Kenya Wildlife Service