Shipping & Logistics

Why foreign fishing vessels run the show in Kenya’s deep waters

MUNYA-fish

Agriculture Cabinet secretary Peter Munya commissions fishing boats in Liwatoni, Mombasa, last Friday. PHOTO | KEVIN ODIT | NMG

Summary

  • Kenya’s deep waters are currently being exploited by foreign industrial fishing vessels due to challenges facing local artisanal fishermen.
  • Agriculture, Livestock and Fisheries Cabinet Secretary Peter Munya said artisanal fishermen are facing setbacks related to technology for semi-industrial and industrial fisheries in deep waters.
  • This leaves Kenya’s deep waters currently being exploited by foreign industrial fishing vessels.

Kenya’s deep waters are currently being exploited by foreign industrial fishing vessels due to challenges facing local artisanal fishermen.

Agriculture, Livestock and Fisheries Cabinet Secretary Peter Munya said artisanal fishermen are facing setbacks related to technology for semi-industrial and industrial fisheries in deep waters. This leaves Kenya’s deep waters currently being exploited by foreign industrial fishing vessels.

Mr Munya said Kenya is allowed to licence 70 fishing vessels in its deep sea.

Speaking during the commissioning of the three fishing boats valued at Sh60 million at the Liwatoni Fisheries Complex on Friday, the CS said the government is equipping local fishermen to enable them to venture deeper into the ocean.

The new boats, the CS said, “mark an important milestone” as Kenya builds its capacity for the fisher community who have ventured into deep-sea fishing.

The boats will be used in Kwale, Lamu and Kilifi. Mr Munya said the three boats will enhance fishing in the three counties, promising more vessels will be procured for Mombasa and Tana River counties for deep-sea fishing.

The modern boats are fitted with navigation and safety equipment and can comfortably cruise at 12 knots with over 10 tonnes of fish on board.

The CS urged the fishing community to use the facilities and equipment to create wealth, jobs and provide food.

“I do not doubt that the commissioning of these three fishing boats will open another chapter for sustainable exploitation of our marine resources for growth and realisation of our national goals,” he said.

The CS warned that the country’s inshore waters which are fishing grounds for artisanal fishermen have been over-exploited and degraded.

Kenya’s total annual fish production in 2019 stood at 146,687 tonnes — comprising 23,700 tonnes from marine resources, 18,542 tonnes from aquaculture and freshwater 102,331 tonnes.

“This is against an estimated potential of 350,000 tonnes annually. The Blue Economy sector is one of the emerging economic frontiers expected to significantly contribute to the country’s growth and development as envisaged in Vision 2030. To achieve this, the government is undertaking several projects and programmes across the country,” Mr Munya said.

“Our marine fisheries have the potential to considerably enhance the socio-economic development of our country by tapping into its huge aquatic resources. The new boats are meant to enable our fishermen to exploit fisheries resources in deep waters,” Mr Munya added, noting that the government seeks to increase fisheries’ contribution to the gross domestic product, create employment, and encourage local investment.

FISHING PORT

The CS highlighted the government’s fisheries programmes being implemented in Coast, including refurbishment and rehabilitation of Liwatoni fishing port.

It will be the first Kenyan port offering fishing-related services and will help facilitate the development of a vibrant fishing industry.

“The port will provide a first-class fisheries jetty, adequate cold storage, fish processing facility, fishmeal factory and a fish auction centre. In addition, there will be office space to accommodate fishing operators, fish traders, bunkering facilities as well as space for boat repair and maintenance. This will attract local and international operators,” said Mr Munya.