On this week’s episode of African Voices, CNN International meets deep sea fisherman Angus Paul in Malindi, Kenya. During the programme, CNN learns about his passion for fishing and the upcoming Malindi International Fishing Festival.
Paul’s love for fishing has been passed down from his family as he explains: “My grandfather actually started fishing here, many years ago. And my father also he worked in the fisheries department here and his love was fishing, and he’s passed it on to me and he’s passed it on to my older son Arran.”
Working and living in Malindi has allowed Paul to meet people from a range of different backgrounds. He explains: “Malindi is very multi-cultured. A lot of Muslim influence from the Arab traders of the past. Vasco Da Gama came in here when he first hit Africa… And you know mixed variety of people, from Italian to Swahili, to our local Giriama people, they are all very, very special people.”
Having been born and raised in Kenya, Paul tells CNN how he couldn’t imagine living away from his coastal town in Kenya: “I feel very fortunate to have lived here all my life here and for my children to be brought up here. You’ve got a very close community. People know each other, they are always there to step in and help you if you need be… I’ve lived here all my life. I wouldn’t want to go and live anywhere else. This is it. This is home. Kenya is home.”
Paul now runs Kingfishers Safaris, a company founded by his parents in the early 1960s. “Every, every single day you go out is totally different. You’re never going to find one day that’s the same as another. The colour of the water has changed. The wind directions change… You see a whale, you see turtles, you see dolphins, you see birds, different birds. So, you know, every day is so different and yeah, amazing.”
While still known for its world-class fishing, East Africa’s waters have been affected by environmental degradation, pollution and overfishing. Angus Paul has seen the effects first hand as he tells CNN: “There’s a lot more pollution in the sea. A lot more plastic waste, a lot of rubbish floating around… Tourism… It’s been down since we had travel advisories uptown on the coast which have now been lifted but it did take a big effect. Not so many tourists. On the fishing side you do see a bigger impact from commercial fishing. The sharks that I saw when I was young are in dire straits.”
While also involved in the sport fishing industry, Paul follows a strict catch and release policy for sharks and billfish which will be protocol at the annual Malindi International Fishing Festival. “We try and release all our sailfish just to conserve it for the future. You don’t want to be taking them all out the water. We’re also tagging them, trying to get information back of where these fish go… Once we know where the fish goes we can try now and lobby the governments around the world [to] look after the fishery, because at the moment it’s free for all.”
On why he continues to fish Paul simply refers to the joy he gets from the sport: “If you’re not passionate for it, you know, there’ll be times where you’re going to slip up, you’re not going to be able to handle it, because it’s out every day, up early morning, out every day. You have to be, have that passion to get out and see what’s going to be out there for the next day.”
African Voices is sponsored by Globacom
African Voices airs Friday 7th December at 1330 EAT on CNN International.