Shipping & Logistics

1,000 fishermen training steps up search for blue economy billions

fish

Fishermen at Kibarani in Mombasa. FILE PHOTO | NMG

Summary

  • The recruitment by the Ministry of Agriculture, Livestock, Fisheries and Cooperatives is aimed at ensuring that there is adequate manpower to exploit the vast fisheries resources estimated at over Sh400 billion annually.
  • Already, more than 1,200 youth have responded to the training call last week that will run until June next year, highlighting the enthusiasm about the opening up of the sector.

After years of policy making to ensure sustainable blue economy growth, Kenya has moved closer to the realisation of maritime skills development and access to employment opportunities with the ongoing training of at least 1,000 Kenyan fishermen in Mombasa.

The recruitment by the Ministry of Agriculture, Livestock, Fisheries and Cooperatives is aimed at ensuring that there is adequate manpower to exploit the vast fisheries resources estimated at over Sh400 billion annually.

Already, more than 1,200 youth have responded to the training call last week that will run until June next year, highlighting the enthusiasm about the opening up of the sector.

And in anticipation of the local manpower, the ministry is also developing a local fishing fleet to enhance the exploitation of fisheries resources.

However, no details have been released about the plans for the fishing fleet or equipment, which are two of the key issues long cited by local fishermen for failure to scale up their fishing ventures as their vessels cannot go into deep sea.

“We require trained crew who can be deployed in locally and foreign- owned fishing vessels licensed to fish in Kenya’s exclusive economic zones or be available for any such fisheries jobs available internationally,” said Kenya Fisheries Service director- general Daniel Mungai.

FOREX GROWTH

In February, Shipping and Maritime Principal Secretary Nancy Karigithu while announcing a deal between the departments of youth, and shipping and maritime, said that the youth will earn a minimum of Sh100,000 translating “to foreign exchange earnings above Sh2.4 billion yearly.”

Mr Mungai said the recruitment, which will take place in marine facilities in Mombasa, was open to young persons across the country. Besides the course work, the youth will also get experience on board a deep sea fishing vessel.

“The youth will distinguish between various approaches and application of deep sea fishing practices and technologies including fishing gears,” said Mr Mungai.

PRESIDENTIAL DIRECTIVE

The recruitment follows a directive by President Uhuru Kenyatta last month during his trip to the coastal region.

The coastal community welcomed the training, saying it will go a long way towards filling a skills gap that has prevented people from fully exploiting the fisheries resources.

Wavuvi Association of Kenya chairman Mohammed Hamid said the training will boost fishing on the Coast, adding the region has suffered due to lack of proper training. “The training will equip our fishermen with proper skills and it is our hope that there will be provision of equipment as well. We are happy that some of our issues are being looked into,” he said.

The government has ramped up investment in the blue economy as it races to implement its big four agenda.

It recently completed construction of the Sh318 million Liwatoni Fisheries Complex which is set to harness Kenya’s fishing industry prospect.

The phase one of the complex located in Mombasa was completed in September.

President Kenyatta said it is one of his flagship projects that is being undertaken to improve fishing in Kenya.

The jetty where the vessels will dock to offload or load fish from the complex was also renovated. However, the project manager said the jetty will be extended to allow more than two vessels to dock at the same time.

HUGE POTENTIAL

In phase two, the government is constructing another cold room to add its capacity.

Meanwhile, to spur growth of the blue economy, the county government of Mombasa plans to form a blue economy projects implementation unit to coordinate the exploration of the sector’s programmes and projects.

The unit is also expected to mobilise local and international resources and partnerships towards tapping the rich coastal and maritime resources with a huge potential for the development of the blue economy.