BOOSTING FOOD SECURITY

State drafts new regulations to streamline fishing sector

Regulations to address terms and conditions for harvesting fishery resources.

In Summary
  • All fishers, including artisans, semi-industrial and industrial groups, and foreign vessels, will work under the regulations once the document is passed.
  • Kenya also seeks to manage and conserve marine fishery resources and strengthen the monitoring and controlling of illegal fishing.
Oceans and Blue Economy secretariat chairperson Samson Mwathethe (in blue shirt) flanked by other marine fisheries stakeholders during the national validation workshop at a Mombasa hotel.
Oceans and Blue Economy secretariat chairperson Samson Mwathethe (in blue shirt) flanked by other marine fisheries stakeholders during the national validation workshop at a Mombasa hotel.
Image: AURA RUTH

The Ministry of Fisheries is drafting new regulations that will grow the fishing sector in the country.

All fishers, including artisans, semi-industrial and industrial groups, and foreign vessels, will work under the regulations once the document is passed.

The purpose of the regulation is to provide modalities for accessing Kenya’s marine fishery resources.

The regulation will also address the terms and conditions for harvesting fishery resources, realisation of the economic benefits of the sector and promotion of food security.

Kenya also seeks to manage and conserve marine fishery resources and strengthen the monitoring and controlling of illegal fishing through the regulations. 

Oceans and Blue Economy chairperson Samson Mwathethe said the making of the regulation has involved different stakeholders.

Those involved in the making of the document include Parliament (especially the coastal parliamentary group), Judiciary and representatives from all the 47 counties.

“We hope that once the document is ready, we will have a sustainable way of dealing with our ocean and make sure that everybody gets what they are supposed to get out of these oceans,” he said.

Mwathethe  further said all Kenyans who want to do fishing will be given access rights by being issued with licenses.

“The artisan fishers will be given a five-year license and the industrial fishers will be given a license that will serve them for 20 years before its renewal," he said. 

"People do not have to queue every year for license renewal, but instead, they will use that time to do their work.”

Mwathethe also said the fisheries regulations that are under review include the inland fisheries regulations and Beach Management Unit regulation.

Others are recreational fishing regulation, which involves inland and riverine fisheries, and fisheries regulation, which entails safety and quality of fisheries.

The drafting of the regulation document, which began in mid-2021, is also expected to provide standards for sustainable use, management and protection of fisheries resources and sport fishing.

Speaking during the national validation workshop on the Draft Marine Fisheries Regulations 2022 in Mombasa, Mwathethe said regulations propose to empower the coastal fishing communities.

He added that the regulations will lay a solid foundation for massive job creation and revenue generation.

“Full implementation of the regulations is expected to enable the country to catch and land 300,000 metric tonnes of marine fisheries here in Kenya. This will realise at least Sh100 billion in the income generation annually and create 240,000 job opportunities,” he said.

He asked stakeholders involved to hasten the remaining law-making steps and implement the regulations immediately.

Agriculture Cabinet Secretary Peter Munya said that billions of people globally rely on healthy oceans as a source of jobs and food.

“According to the World Bank, about 60 million people worldwide are employed in fishing and the oceans contribute about $1.5 trillion annually to the overall global economy,” the CS said.

He further said that in Kenya, marine fisheries account for less than 10 per cent of all the fish that is harvested annually.

However, the sector has the capability of sustaining jobs of more than one million individuals whose income depends directly or indirectly on fishing.

The number of fishers employed directly in the marine fisheries in Kenya is 13,426.

He said there is a need for Kenya to boost its marine fisheries, so as to reap the maximum benefits.

“This necessitates a transformation from the current license-based management and conservation to a rights-based system,” Munya said in his speech.

The right-based regime is a global practice under the sustainable Blue Economy for the exploitation of marine resources.

 

(edited by Amol Awuor)

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