KISUMU, Kenya, Jun 11 – The Kenya Maritime Authority (KMA) has teamed up with Lake Basin Development Authority (LBDA) to tap on the Blue Economy within Lake Victoria.
Speaking during a promotion on Lake Victoria investment forum held in Kisumu, KMA Director General George Macgoye says inland waters have the opportunity to turn around the economy of the country.
Macgoye says Lake Victoria has economic activities that could highly raise the living standards only if it is fully exploited.
He says the maritime sector is yet to take its rightful place in the GPD as depicted in the annual national economic reports.
He announced that the Authority had confined its mandate within the inland waters to safety of shipping, search and rescue activities but must now expand its scope to tap on other opportunities within the water bodies.
“We commissioned a study in early 2017 to identify possible areas of interaction in improving the economic activities in Lakes Victoria and Turkana,” he says.
Macgoye says the outcome of the study has necessitated the collaboration they are starting off with LBDA to implement recommendations of the study.
LBDA managing director Evans Atera says the team work will spur economic development within the lake basin.
Atera reiterated that the lake has facilitated trade through easy transport, provides fish food and water for the livelihoods.
However, he says the plight of the communities living along the resource has continued to deteriorate due to pollution and depletion in fish stocks.
“It is therefore important to be seriously concerned with the lake communities on the decisions made to protect, preserve and promote progress that can be able to sustain the lake,” he says.
Atera says the lake boasted of hosting over 200 fish species in the past years but destruction of breeding sites, using unregulated fish gears have depleted the species.
He called for coordinated approaches and strategies within the counties sharing the lake to save it from extinction.
Macgoye says the counties of Busia, Siaya, Kisumu, Homa Bay and Migori have been incorporated into the initiative.
“The five counties bordering Lake Victoria have shared their strategic plans on economic activities in the lake as captured in their County Integrated Development Program (CIDP), he says.
Among the study findings indicate that there exist vast resources in the lake that has not been exploited but has the enormous potential to change the economy of the people.
The study pointed out on the need to develop transport infrastructure around the lake, need to map out safe navigational routes in the lake and need to come up with a framework for coordinating lake developments among the counties.
The LBDA boss says the blue economy will help the region to come up with strategies that will ease pressure on the lake.
Atera says that already they have developed a proposal to restock the lake, with depleted endangered species.
“There are several endangered fish species that are found within Lake Kanyaboli in Siaya County that can be multiplied and put into Lake Victoria to replenish the stock,” he says.