Blue economy plan targets 50,000 fisher folk

Over 50,000 people who earn their living from fishing activities at the Coast and the Nyanza region are set to benefit from a Kes1 billion state investment along the Lake Victoria and Indian Ocean strip.

Mining and Blue Economy CS Salim Mvurya has said the project largely targets the poor and vulnerable persons in Kwale, Mombasa, Kilifi, Tana River, Lamu, Taita Taveta, Busia, Siaya, Kisumu, Homabay and Migori counties. An estimated 60 percent of the set beneficiaries are women involved in fishing activities.

Investing in Women in the Blue Economy in Kenya is a five-year programme that started in February 2022 and will end in November 2026 and is managed by the Africa Enterprise Challenge Fund and funded by the Department of Global Affairs, Canada.

Mr Mvurya noted his ministry’s increasing efforts to engage more women in the coastal and marine ecosystem, ensuring collective responsibility in conserving and sustainably using blue resources while enhancing opportunities for decent work and poverty reduction at the household level.

Women participation in Blue economy

“Kenya is addressing obstacles faced by women and increasing their participation in blue economy activities to empower them for immediate and long-term benefits,” Mvurya said.

The Cabinet has approved the Kenya Fisheries Policy 2023, which aims to mainstream gender equity in blue economy projects, offering training programs, access to financing, and promoting leadership roles for women. The draft National Blue Economy Strategy, also in development, seeks to create a sustainable and resilient blue economy by fully integrating women’s potential.

Mvurya stated that the ministry has initiated and developed institutional reforms through the Kenya Fisheries Policy and the National Oceans and Fisheries Policy. Speaking to a Senate committee, he mentioned that the ministry has created Marine Spatial Plans for the Indian Ocean and Lake Victoria basins, which have received Cabinet approval. A total of Kes200 million has been committed to three medium enterprises in the programme.

Additionally, the ministry is working on several management plans: the Lake Turkana Fisheries Management Plan, Small Purse Seine Fishery Management Plan, Lobster Fishery Management Plan, Marine Aquarium Fishery Management Plan, and Prawn Fishery Management Plan. Other projects include the Lake Naivasha Fisheries Management Plan, National Aquaculture Development Strategy and Plan, and the National Fish Marketing Strategy.

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Fisheries policy

The CS highlighted a multi-sectoral effort to fully utilize blue economy resources. “We have reviewed the National Oceans and Fisheries Policy and proposed renaming it to the Kenya Fisheries Policy to incorporate inland waters. We are also developing the National Blue Economy Strategy and planning reviews for the National Aquaculture Policy and Tuna Management and Development Strategy.”

To operationalize the Fisheries Management and Development Act of 2016, the ministry has established various regulations, including Marine Fisheries Regulations, Inland Fisheries Regulations, Recreational Fisheries Regulations, General Fisheries Regulations, Fish Safety and Quality Regulations, Beach Management Units Regulations, Fish Levy Trust Fund Order, and Aquaculture Regulations.

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