Kenya mulls new strategy to counter illegal fishing

Tuesday, March 8th, 2022 06:49 | By
A fisherman at Lake Victoria. Photo/Courtesy

Kenya is in the advanced stages of formulating a national maritime development security strategy to counter insecurity threats in its terrestrial waters and help steer ahead of the multi-billion shilling blue economy sector.

Principal Secretary, State Department for East African Community Kevit Desai said the strategy aims to bring significant opportunities for social-economic growth.

He said the sector has for decades suffered setbacks from illegal fishing and piracy within Kenyan terrestrial waters and with the new strategy in place, it will help create solutions and partnerships to counter the vices. “When in place the strategy will act as a goal to safeguard and promote the blue economy, by providing a safe and secure operating environment for international maritime transportation,” Desai said during the opening of the National Maritime Security Strategy Workshop in Mombasa.

Kenyan's commitment to the strategy has come as a result of the establishment of a National Maritime Security Committee, with the technical assistance of the International Maritime Organisation (IMO).

Maritime economy

“We are discussing as a government to promote an all-round government approach by all ministries within the aspect of ensuring that we establish systemically all policies, regulations and standards to promote the next investment,” said Desai. Kiruja Micheni, programmes officer at IMO said Kenya has made strides in the maritime economy and thus a maritime security committee will be paramount to ensure Kenya aligns itself with the organisation’s global strategies on maritime security and safety.

He said IMO is pleased to partner and support Kenya in the development national maritime security strategy.

“As you know, Kenya is a leading player in the maritime sector and has made strides in the maritime economy, but you cannot have massive development without security, and therefore this is our view that agencies must work together in making this a reality,” said Micheni.

The establishment of a national strategy complies with Kenya’s obligations under article three of the Jeddah Amendment to the Djibouti Code of Conduct.

Domain awareness

“The strategy will address maritime risks, and any gaps that are there and how to deal with them, for example, the maritime domain awareness, we need to constantly monitor our waters to ensure we counter illegal fishing,” he said.

It is also in line with Chapter XI-2 of the International Convention for the Safety of Life at Sea, ” he added.

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