Kenya is yet to fully exploit its marine fisheries potential which could double the current national fish production of about 167,000 metric tonnes annually.
The country earns Shs.40 billion at the farm gate and another Shs. 2.66billion in foreign exchange.
An estimated 150,000metric tonnes remains unexploited mainly due to lack of investments to exploit the available potential.
This was revealed on Thursday by Agriculture, Livestock and Fisheries Cabinet Secretary (CS), Willy Bett in a speech read on his behalf by the Kenya Marine and Fisheries Research Institute (KMFRI) Interim Director General, Ms. Susan Iminde during the World Ocean Day national celebrations at Gazi Bay in Kwale County.
Bett noted that only 6 percent of the national annual fish production is harvested from marine waters while 94 per cent is from fresh water and fish farms.
However, Bett said the government is undertaking several measures to boost marine and coastal fisheries sub-sector which include among others, developing fisheries related infrastructure like ice plants and construction of fish ports in Lamu, Mombasa, Kilifi and Kwale Counties.
Additionally, a new Fisheries Management and Development Act, 2016 is currently under implementation to facilitate efficient and effective management of fisheries and other aquatic resources.
The CS said in order to prevent and reduce marine pollution of all kinds, Kenya had ratified most of the relevant International Maritime Organization (IMO) conventions in line with the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).
He also called on both the national and county governments to work closely so as to realize the great potential of the fisheries sector.
Ms. Iminde lauded the ban on plastics, saying the continued disposal of plastic waste into the sea poses a great danger to marine life hence the need to undertake appropriate measures to curb the menace.
She said the move is meant to minimize the amount of solid waste finding its way into the ocean and thereby opening up the Coastal belt for extensive economic growth.
The plastics which get into the water affect fish reproduction and general marine life development and it is thus everyone’s duty to ensure that the sea is safe from pollution, she said.
Kwale County Executive for Agriculture, Ms. Joanne Nduku said the county government has been supporting local fishermen by providing them with motor boats which have improved their harvest.
She added that they had also constructed roads linking the ocean to main roads to enable the fishermen to easily transport their produce to the market.
Source: Kenya News Agency