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Uhuru moves to safeguard marine life and boost blue economy

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President Uhuru Kenyatta, the President of Somalia Mohamed Abdullahi Mohamed, the President of Uganda Yoweri Museveni, the President of Mozamique Filipe Nyusi, the President of Seychelles Danny Faure, the President of Zanzibar Ali Mohamed Shein, African Union Chairperson Moussa Faki and Deputy President William Ruto during the Sustainable Blue Economy Conference during it’s opening at KICC, Nairobi.
President Uhuru Kenyatta has announced four new measures to explore and protect the Sh1.44 billion worth of investment opportunities in Kenya’s blue economy.
Among the four measures is the adoption and introduction of new policies, and head-on confrontation of waste management and plastic pollution in water bodies.
The other steps are ensuring responsible and sustainable fishing, and ensuring safety and security in the high seas.
Speaking during the inaugural sustainable blue economy conference, Uhuru said Kenya will take advantage of these opportunities by exploring new technologies and innovations.
Further, he expressed his fears on the extent to which human activity had continued to adversely affect the importance of oceans, posing a great threat to Kenya’s food security and the biodiversity on land and at sea.
To implement the policies, the President announced creation of the Blue Economy Implementation Standing Committee.
The committee’s purpose is to build on and expand institutional governance mechanisms that are already in place to enhance coordinated management of the blue economy.
To compliment the four measures, Kenyatta revealed ongoing plans to upgrade the Kenya Maritime School, revive maritime transport and adopting a programme to accelerate the development of fisheries.
In light of the Big four Agenda on housing, the government further intends to re-develop lake front cities and towns in efforts to realise their sustainable industrial potential.
Last week, the government launched the Kenya Coast Guard to enhance security and safety of collective waters to ensure safety and security in the high seas. While launching the guard, President Kenyatta revealed that Kenya loses about Sh10 billion annualy to foreign boats fishing without permission.
The coastguard is meant to crack down on drug, people and arms smuggling along Kenya’s lengthy coastline. During the same period , the President also commissioned a new fisheries complex jetty to enable docking of large fishing and patrol vessels and announced the establishment of a Fishing Corporation.
Kenya has already ratified the Port State Measures Agreement that will ensure vessels flying the Kenyan flag comply with measures contained in the Agreement.
According to World Resource Institute special envoy for conflict and Natural resources Justin Mundy, there is need for a 10 per cent Marine Protected Area by 2020 globally, and 30 per cent by 2030.
“The challenge is to build a process that concentrates on ocean regeneration. We have abused and over-utilised the ocean for far too long… Capturing these areas and Exclusive Economic Zones is the only hope of ensuring fisheries are revived,” Mundy said.

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