Kenya, World Bank partner on mariculture development project

Kenya has teamed up with the World Bank to undertake a five-year, USD 100 million (EUR 91 million) fisheries and mariculture expansion project targeting five counties along the country’s 640-kilometer Indian Ocean coastline.

The three-component Kenya Marine Fisheries and Socioeconomic Development Project (KEMFSED), which is being implemented by the government through the State Department for Fisheries and the Blue Economy, entails improving the governance and management of Kenya’s coastal marine fisheries and aquatic resources for easy monitoring of fishing activities. 

The end goal, according to KEMFSED, is to ensure sustainable fish stock productivity in addition to boosting the integrity of the related ecosystem. The project also aims to woo additional private investment especially in improving efficient utilization of available marine fisheries and coastal aquaculture and enhancement of value addition along the sector’s value chain. The government also wants to achieve local economic benefits in the fishing communities in the counties of Mombasa, Kilifi, Kwale, Tana River, and Lamu.

Mariculture was introduced into Kenya in the 1970s but has failed to take root as an alternative to capture fisheries because of inadequate investment and technical expertise, according to the World Bank. But the sector has received a boost under the KEMFSED project with a proposal for the construction of at least one national mariculture resource and training center in Shimoni, Kwale county.

“This new facility will undertake the much-required research in fish-breeding toward supplying commercial hatcheries with improved broodstock for fast and efficient production,” a statement from the World Bank said.

In addition, the laboratory, which will be under the Kenya Marine Fisheries Research Institute, a state agency “will support the scientific, experimental and technological requirements for a state-of-the-art system, and the training center will be used for capacity development and training of skills in mariculture.” 

Kenya had previously engaged a consultant to evaluate the past and current experiences in the mariculture sector, identify the main opportunities and constraints, and give recommendations on suitable interventions that can be financed under KEMFSED and also how relevant experiences from regional neighbors in the Western Indian Ocean can be infused in the search for a long-term sector development plan.

The Ministry of Agriculture, Livestock, and Fisheries, through the State Department for Fisheries and Blue Economy, has identified marine species that suitable to be farmed in Kenya to include the milkfish and mullet, which respectively account for 90 percent and 10 percent of current production, albeit on a pilot scale.

Moreover, Kenya’s marine shellfish culture includes mud (mangrove) crabs, prawns, and artemia, also farmed at pilot scale, with the ministry attributing the constrained growth of this farming to “inadequate availability of fingerlings, crablets and other seeds for stocking of existing or new farms.”

Other constraints include “inadequate availability of affordable feed supply, poor husbandry and technical knowledge, water scarcity due to rainfall variability and other competing users, inadequate market information, and lack of accessible credit for fish farmers.”

Photo courtesy of Shutterstock 


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