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President Kenyatta orders suspension of international trawler licenses

These boats must land their catches in Kenya, President Kenyatta said/FILE

NAIROBI, Kenya, Dec 12 – President Uhuru Kenyatta has directed Ministries of Defence and Agriculture to suspend the fishing licenses of all international trawlers operating in Kenya’s territorial waters until they comply with Kenya‘s requirement for local input.

President Kenyatta has also directed the two ministries to immediately intercept all illegal fishing vessels.

The move is aimed at protecting the blue economy to benefit Kenyans instead of foreigners.

He said the habit of foreign trawlers entering Kenyan waters illegally and returning to their countries filled with fish must end.

“Our coastal and marine ecosystems, if properly exploited, would create tens of thousands of jobs for our people. Instead, we have allowed others to take our resources, build their economies and create jobs for their people, at our expense,” he observed.

Kenya has about 400 kilometres of rich coastline and a share of Lake Victoria, the second-largest freshwater lake in the world.

“It is shameful that we exploit only a small fraction of these God-given resources,” he lamented.

Kenya and Uganda have been having trespassing issues at the lake border that has seen some Kenyans arrested by Ugandan Authorities.

Last month about seven fishermen were arrested by Ugandan authorities and detained on Ugandan islands.

The fishermen were arrested by armed Ugandan security personnel a few kilometres from Remba Island and ordered onto one boat.

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Foreign Affairs Cabinet Secretary Amina Mohammed however secured their release.

Kenya plans to significantly expand fishing to 18,000 metric tonnes annually from the current 2,500 metric tonnes of fish.

“This means that young people from Migingo to Mbita, from Kiungato Vanga, and from Faza to Chale, will find jobs and reliable incomes as fishermen, as fishmongers, as processors, as wholesalers and retailers. We will also expand our shipping industry in order to maximize on our maritime opportunities,” President Kenyatta added.

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