Kenya has signed a Sh10 billion concessional loan with the World Bank to boost fishing at the coast as the government seeks to exploit its deep sea resources.
The funds will be spent on training 500 youth in five coastal counties — Kilifi, Mombasa, Kwale, Lamu and Tana River — tame illegal fishing and curb overfishing along the coastline.
Signing the agreement Tuesday, Agriculture Secretary Peter Munya said the Kenya marine fisheries and socio-economic project would improve governance and management of the resources, promote investment and strengthen livelihoods at the Coast.
Mr Munya said 13,000 fishers in Kenya were small-scale and concentrated in near-shore which has declined over time as the number of fishing boats increased.
“As a ministry, we target moving the fishers to the deeper waters by building their capacity to venture into the territorial sea and the Exclusive Zones fisheries,” said Mr Munya.
He said the new project, which is to be launched in July, will go a long way in supporting the five coastal counties.
“Coastal communities are poor, have narrow income base, and depend on fisheries for livelihoods, which lead to overfishing pressures,” said Mr Munya. Mr Munya said to date the government has trained 100 fishers in Kilifi and 86 in Lamu so that they can participate in the deep water fishing.
Fisheries Principal Secretary Micheni Ntiba said half of the Sh10 billion will go towards the community to strengthen their economic activities.
“We want the community to be the greatest beneficiaries of these funds and that is why we want half of this money to go directly to them,” said Prof Ntiba.