Friday, 13 November 2020 13:31

Indigenous Marine Biohazard Knowledge and their Management among Intertidal Seascape Users along the Kenyan Indian Ocean Coast

Written by C. M. Kihia1*, E. K. Mbaru2, J. N. Macai3, P. Chaka1 and D. Kajuju1
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C. M. Kihia1*, E. K. Mbaru2, J. N. Macai3, P. Chaka1 and D. Kajuju1

1Department of Biological Sciences, Egerton University,

PO Box 536, Egerton, Kenya

2Department, KEMFRI, PO Box 81651 Mombasa, Kenya

3Department, Laikipia University, PO Box 1100-20300, Nyahururu, Kenya

*Corresponding Author: charles.kihia@gmail.com

The serene, biodiverse and stunning Indian Ocean seascapes are widely appreciated, but inherent dangers, remain largely ignored or the stuff of folklore and fiction. A cross-sectional survey of dangerous marine organism knowledge and management among typical seascape users along the Kenyan coast, was undertaken among fishing communities at the North and South coast. Demographics, coupled with knowledge and management of marine biohazards, were obtained from over 112 respondents (fishers, gleaners, boatmen, beach boys) in March 2019. Results indicate irrespective of demographic profile, seascape users were familiar with a diverse array of traumatogenic (<24), envenomating (<12) and toxic (<5) taxa, with differing lethality (P<0.05). Highly lethal traumatogenic fauna were dominated by sharks (<80%), while lionfish (<53%), and puffers (60%) were most familiar envenomating and lethal fauna, respectively. High biohazard encounters (94%) and attacks (81%) occurred in reefs (49%), or while fishing (46%), attacked mainly by urchins, stingray, stonefish and lionfish (34, 18, 18 &11 incidences, respectively). The most important first aid for injury was seawater cleansing (46%), while for envenomation; sucking (27%), bandaging (24%) and herbal poultice (18%), and milk (87%) was used for poisoning events. Conventional health facilities were only consulted for severe symptoms, such as severe haemorrhage and necrosis, others (31%) being tackled by self and local healers. Pawpaw and Sodom apple, are important local herbals that require further evaluation, but common precautions taken, include protective clothing and attention. In the absence of adequate documentation and appropriate conventional medical intervention, itinerant coastal visitors are advised to heed indigenous wisdom and intervention. Information on occurrence of potentially dangerous marine fauna, and respective intervention, should be incorporated into existing seascape use policy.

KeywordsAttack rate, envenomation, intervention, lethality, precaution, toxic, trauma

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