MOMBASA, Kenya, Jun 8 – Kenya is losing over Sh440 billion annually for failing to fully exploit the blue economy, Agriculture Cabinet Secretary Mwangi Kiunjuri has said.
Kiunjuri has said the estimated economic value of goods and services in the marine and coastal eco-system of the blue economy of the Western Indian Ocean is more than Sh2.2 trillion.
Kenya’s share in this Sh2.2 trillion is about 20 percent, which translates to over Sh440 billion.
However, fisheries account for only 0.5 percent of Kenya’s Gross Domestic Product.
In a speech read on his behalf by Agriculture Research Principal Secretary Hamadi Boga during the World Ocean Day Celebration at Mama Ngina Drive Mombasa, Kiunjuri said it is time to fully exploit Kenya’s Exclusive Economic Zone.
He said the fisheries sector has a potential of employing over two million Kenyan, through fishing, boat building, equipment repair and fish processing and the marine fishing has an annual fish potential of 350,000 metric tonnes worth Sh90 billion.
“However, Kenya yields a paltry 9,134 metric tonnes worth about Sh2.3 billion. It is important to ensure that the full economic potential of marine resources has fully been exploited,” said Kiunjuri.
He said the ministry will come up with policies and framework that will support this segment of the economy.
Kiunjuri says they will soon operationalize the Fisheries Advisory Council and develop the Kenya National Fishing Fleet to ensure a sustainable exploitation of the under-utilized Exclusive Economic Zone.
“Strengthening of the monitoring, control and surveillance system to provide efficient and effective fish governance will ensure full exploitation of the EEZ,” he said.
He said they will also develop fisheries related infrastructure like ice planting and construction of the fish ports in Mombasa, Lamu, Kilifi and Kwale counties.
Kenya has won support from the Commonwealth for its Oceans summit in November, during which it will press the case for greater exploitation of the seas for the benefit of its people — ensuring that the Blue Economy is effectively deployed to lift the lives of Kenyans.