KENYA – The Kenyan government has received a Ksh10 billion (US$93.65m) concessional loan from the World Bank aimed to improve governance and management of marine fisheries and aquatic resources as well as promote investment in the sector.
The funding comes fortnight after a partnership with the international fund for agricultural development (IFAD), raising Ksh. 14 billion (US$131.11m) in a bid to increase fish production in the country.
The Ksh.10 billion (US$93.65m) investments targets five beneficiary coastal counties i.e. Kwale, Mombasa, Kilifi, Tana River and Lamu through the Kenya Marine Fisheries and Socio-Economic (KEMFSED) Project.
The project will be officially launched immediately after post-COVID 19 opening either end of June or beginning of July at the Coast in one of the Counties, reports KBC.
The KEMFSED project covers a period of five years and its overall goal is to enhance economic benefits and coastal livelihoods from marine fisheries and coastal aquaculture while safeguarding associated ecosystems’ integrity.
According to Agriculture and Fisheries Cabinet Secretary Peter Munya, the project is based on two problem statements namely weak governance of marine fisheries that adversely affects the sustainable generation of optimal benefits for the overall economy and coastal communities.
Secondly, coastal communities that are poor, have narrow income base, and depend on fisheries for livelihoods which leads to over-fishing pressures.
“The project design has therefore adopted two principles of fisheries management that needs to be strengthened and also associated, cooperation of the private sector and coastal communities which is essential,” he said.
KEMFSED project, the CS noted comes at an opportune time considering fish is the most traded commodity in the world and being labour-intensive, generates many jobs.
“Let us promote circular economies in order to maximize the returns from the fisheries as well as protect the aquatic ecosystems,” he said
The project targets to move the 13,000 fishers who are small scale and concentrated in near shore to the deeper waters by building their capacity and training them to venture into the territorial sea and the Exclusive Zones fisheries.
Government will offer low cost loans to encourage investors to purchase deep sea fishing vessels and gears.
Fisheries Principal Secretary Prof. Micheni Ntiba says Kenyans own 17 of the total 72 deep sea fishing vessels owned by foreigners operating in Kenyan waters hence the latest financing efforts.
Through the project construction of the National Mari-culture Resource Centre will also be undertaken, which will not only research on better farming systems and fish species but also produce marine fish seeds and train the farmers.
The government is in the process of coming up with a marine spatial plan that brings together multiple users of the ocean who will assist in making informed and coordinated decisions about how to use marine resources sustainably and also protect and conserve the marines.
“We are also setting aside a 30 percent Marine Protected area for restocking and conservation of fish in the five-year program,” Prof Ntiba said.