KENYA – The European Union has issued €1.4 million (US$1.7m) to the coastal communities in Kwale, Kenya, aimed to improve the management of marine conservation and small-scale fisheries in a bid to spearhead the growth of the blue economy along the country’s coastal strip.

The funding will be injected in two projects i.e., the Biodiversity and Protected Areas Management (BIOPAMA) and The Small-Scale Fisheries for Sustainable Blue Growth, Improving Food Security and Livelihoods in Coastal Kenya and East Africa.

The later which is set to run for 3 years is to be financed to the tune of € 1 million (US$1.2m) targeting small-scale marine fishery communities with concrete fisheries management and governance initiatives.

“Currently Kenya’s blue economy is estimated at US$ 1.78 billion and it could grow four times that if correct policies in fisheries as well as in sustainable maritime industry are put in place.”

European Union Ambassador to Kenya – Simon Mordue

Under the program EU will assist coastal communities to effectively manage small scale fishery resources, fostering innovation by taking a community based co-created approach to small-scale fisheries management.

“It is clear that Kenya sees potential for the Blue Economy, and it can set an example for other African states.

“Currently Kenya’s blue economy is estimated at US$ 1.78 Billion and it could grow four times that if correct policies in fisheries as well as in sustainable maritime industry are put in place,” European Union Ambassador to Kenya, Simon Mordue said.

Meanwhile, BIOPAMA Programme financed to the tune of € 400,000 (US$486,00) by the EU and the Organization of African, Caribbean and Pacific States, is aimed to increase conservation and governance of biodiversity and natural resources.

The project will be jointly developed and implemented by Kenya Wildlife Service (KWS) and conservation organisation World Wide Fund for Nature- Kenya (WWF-Kenya) in partnership with the local communities and other relevant agencies.

Its focus will be on the pristine Marine Park and Reserve and the surrounding Locally Managed Marine Areas.

“We need to take advantage of the globalized seafood trade and sustainable Blue Economy opportunities to bring about significant flow of benefits to our economy and improve living standards of communities who depend on marine resources for their livelihoods,” WWF-Kenya CEO, Mohamed Awer said.

His sentiments were echoed by KWS Director General Brigadier John Waweru noting that, “The project will help meet the Kisite- Mpunguti Conservation Area Management plan objectives for the period 2016 – 2025 in line with the Transformation for Sustainable Ocean Economy, targeting to adopt and implement an effective sustainable Blue Economy for Kenya.”

Women and youth are set to be the biggest beneficiaries of two projects.

Meanwhile, the Cabinet Secretary for Agriculture, Livestock and Fisheries Peter Munya has commissioned three powerful fishing vessels in Mombasa worth Ksh. 60 million (US$548,000) to allow local fishermen to take up deep sea fishing.

Munya said the three boats would be distributed to fisher folks in the coastal counties of Mombasa, Kilifi and Lamu for the purpose of deep-sea fishing in the region.

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