Residents of Mwaembe village, Kwale were on Tuesday left stunned after a fisherman netted the endangered dugong fish species.
Hassan Juma, the fisherman who netted the carcass of the large grey mammal, said it got entangled in a fishing net that he had set the night before.
“We had gone to the sea to look for our net but on reaching there we realized that it had moved deeper and was heavier,” he said.
Marine scientists said the endangered fish species had not been sighted in Kenya’s coastal waters for years.
Residents who demanded to be given a piece of the fish claimed the fish was last sighted at the Kenyan Coast in 1975.
“Let them give us this fish, which is so sweet. Let them not make us cry. The last time we caught this kind of fish was in 1975. The fish is usually cooked with its own oil and it is better than any other food I have ever eaten,” said Mchambi Juma, a Mwaembe village resident.
Dr Judith Nyunja, head of research in the Kenya Wildlife Service Coast conservation area, said dugongs were rarely found in East Africa’s coastal line.
“Recently we did an aerial survey of the dugong along the coastline but we didn’t see any and therefore we are very fortunate to spot this one. It is, however, unfortunate that we have caught it dead but all in all, we are happy that we have found it,” said Dr Nyunja.
She added that the animal would be kept in a museum in Mombasa.