By The COAST Newspaper Reporter
Kenya loses billions of shillings annually through illegal fishing activities in her exclusive economic zones.
Cabinet Secretary, ministry of agriculture, Livestock and Fisheries Willy Bett says Kenya loses 10 billion annually due to increased IUU fishing activities.
Speaking in Mombasa on Tuesday when he officially opened MSC centre and national fish labs, the CS said it is estimated that catches representing some 11-26 million tons of seafood valued at some US$ 10 – 23.5 billion are lost annually due to IUU related fishing worldwide.
“IUU fishing does not only undermine resource conservation; threatens food security and livelihoods; destabilizes vulnerable coastal regions and ecosystems” the CS added
Bett said IUU fishing does not only undermine resource conservation; threatens food security and livelihoods; destabilizes vulnerable coastal regions and ecosystems.
The CS also indicated that there are also other serious crimes including labour associated crimes, money laundering, fraud, human trafficking, drugs and arms dealing that need to be fully addressed not to affect the sector as well.
The MCS centre has been set up for Monitoring Control and Surveillance, of our EEZ.
It is housing the Vessel Monitoring System and Automatic Identification System (VMS/AIS) which is a surveillance tool for monitoring our EEZ to detect compliant and IUU vessels.
It will serve as the command centre for the operation of the soon to be commissioned Off Shore Patrol vessel, PV Doria. It is in this regard that we are officially opening the MSC centre.
Of late there has been an increasing threat to global fisheries and economies through IUU fishing and related crimes that requires collective intervention by the international community.
The CS said the Government is fully committed to shouldering her share of responsibility on the same.
He said “The government has adopted the blue economic development model for Kenyan marine waters for accelerate economic growth. In addition, Kenya subscribes to the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) Blue Growth Initiative and has adopted the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals, which recognize the important role played by oceans, seas, lakes and rivers in human development”
Bett added that the government has developed a National Tuna Fisheries Development and Management strategy 2013-2018, which provides a roadmap for the sustainable development of the Kenya's tuna fisheries resources occurring in the Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ) and ensuring an efficient tuna fisheries value chain.
According to the CS the overall goal of the strategy is to help transit Kenya’s tuna fisheries from artisanal-based fisheries to modern commercially oriented coastal and oceanic fisheries and accelerate economic growth of the tuna fisheries with direct positive impacts to employment, wealth creation, improved incomes and foreign exchange earnings.
Tuna fisheries are important tradable fishery commodity with a global commercial catch value of USD 3 Billion. Indeed the Western Indian Ocean region accounts for 70 to 80% of the Indian Ocean catch of tuna, representing 20% of the global tuna production (the second largest in the world after the West Pacific ocean). Kenya is therefore located strategically in the rich tuna belt of the Western Indian Ocean region.
Earlier estimates indicate that the tuna fishery in the Kenyan EEZ has the potential of between 150,000 and 300,000 Mt.
The CS also opened the Fish Quality Control Laboratory in Mombasa while the laboratories in Kisumu and Nairobi are also complete.
The construction of the Fish Quality Control Laboratories in Kenya is an idea that was conceptualized as early as the years 2009/2010 when Kenya suffered fish export bans from the major fish market the European Union due to food safety concerns.