- KMFRI chief scientist says they have finished replicating the project in Vanga Blue Forest and they are now moving to Lamu.
- Kenya has a total of 61, 271 hectares of mangroves.
The Kenya Marine and Fisheries Research Institute plans to launch carbon credit offset projects in Lamu, Tana River and Kilifi counties.
Currently, the world's first community Blue Carbon project is at Gazi Bay in Kwale county.
Blue Carbon is a term used for carbon captured and stored by coastal ecosystems, particularly mangroves and sea grasses.
The project is implemented under the Mikoko Pamoja Initiative, a community-led mangrove conservation and restoration project supported by KMFRI
The community is assisted to conserve and rehabilitate mangroves through the sale of carbon credits.
KMFRI chief Scientist James Kairo said they have finished replicating the project in Vanga Blue Forest and they are now moving to Lamu.
Lamu has the highest number of mangroves forests. It covers 61 per cent of the total mangrove forests.
Kenya has a total of 61, 271 hectares of mangroves.
Kairo said the Lamu carbon project will be supported by the Go-Blue programme under the sponsorship of the European Union to advance the Blue Economy agenda.
He said there are targeting to produce 100, 000 tonnes of carbon which is equivalent to $1 million (approximately Sh118.6 million) annually in the Lamu carbon project.
"We are focusing on a long-term goal in the carbon market. Imagine getting $1 million in a period of 10 to 20 years," he said.
Kairo, however, said they are in process of identifying suitable areas, where the carbon harvesting project will take place.
He said they already have Community Forests Association groups in place and soon the project will start.
The chief scientist said the project intends to advance the Blue Economy agenda and promote a healthy and productive ecosystem.
He said they want to uplift the lives of the coastal people by taking advantage of the biodiversity brought by mangrove conservation.
"About 80 per cent of fish depend on mangroves for reproduction and protection of ocean acidification, sea level rise and environment purification," he said.
Kairo further said the mangroves are 10 times more effective in carbon capture compared to terrestrial forests.
Kairo spoke on Tuesday during the marking of World Mangrove Day at Gazi Walkboard in Msambweni constituency, Kwale county.
He said despite the efforts to conserve the forests, the mangrove population is still down.
The officer said from Vanga to the Lamu seascape, about 40 per cent of the mangroves have been destroyed due to illegal harvesting of the mangroves.
He said Mombasa county is one of the counties that has been hard hit, with about 80 per cent of its mangroves eliminated.
Kairo, however, said the destruction in Kwale is relatively low because of enhanced community involvement in protecting the mangroves.
Kwale has a total of 8,800 hectares of mangroves, according to Kairo.
Currently, the ban on mangroves harvesting is still imposed in the county.
The chief scientist said the government should now provide proper guidelines for a healthy harvesting plan so that communities can benefit more from the conservation without harming the forests.
(edited by Amol Awuor)