Kenya loses Sh10bn an­nu­ally to un­reg­u­lated fish­ing, says Bett

De­crease in sup­ply has turned fish into a high-value com­mod­ity on the world mar­ket and has at­tracted in­ter­est from transna­tional and or­gan­ised crim­i­nal net­works

The Star (Kenya) - - Politics Ministries - AGATHA NGOTHO @agath­ang­otho

Kenya loses Sh10 bil­lion an­nu­ally to in­creased il­le­gal, un­reg­u­lated and un­re­ported fish­ing ac­tiv­i­ties, Agri­cul­ture CS Willy Bett said yes­ter­day.

He said this not only un­der­mines re­source con­ser­va­tion and threat­ens food se­cu­rity, but also leads to other crimes such as money laun­der­ing, fraud, hu­man traf­fick­ing and arms deal­ing.

Bett said de­mand for fish and fish­eries prod­ucts has in­creased, owing to the grow­ing hu­man pop­u­la­tion and aware­ness on the ben­e­fits of fish con­sump­tion. “This has led to pres­sure on our fish­eries re­sources, where wild fish stocks are rapidly get­ting de­pleted, and valu­able species near­ing ex­tinc­tion,” he said.

He spoke while open­ing a fish­eries law en­force­ment fo­rum in Mom­basa.

The two-day meet­ing is fo­cus­ing on build­ing lo­cal law en­force­ment ex­per­tise and strength­en­ing co­op­er­a­tion be­tween do­mes­tic and cross-bor­der agen­cies to ad­dress fish­eries crime. Par­tic­i­pants are from Kenya, South Africa, Tan­za­nia, In­done­sia and So­ma­lia.

The CS said the de­crease in fish sup- ply has turned fish into a high-value com­mod­ity on the world mar­ket and that this sce­nario has at­tracted in­ter­est from transna­tional and or­gan­ised crim­i­nal net­works.

“Il­le­gal, un­reg­u­lated and un­re­ported fish­ing is a se­ri­ous prob­lem af­fect­ing global economies world­wide and Kenya is not ex­cep­tional. For in­stance, it is es­ti­mated that catches, rep­re­sent­ing 11-26 mil­lion tonnes of seafood val­ued at some US$ 10 – 23.5 bil­lion are lost an­nu­ally world­wide,” Bett said.

He said the gov­ern­ment is keen on part­ner­ing with the in­ter­na­tional com­mu­nity in ad­dress­ing the chal­lenge of fish­eries law en­force­ment in ter­ri­to­rial wa­ters and in the world arena. “The in­creas­ing threat to global fish­eries and economies through il­le­gal, un­reg­u­lated and un­re­ported fish­ing and re­lated crimes re­quires col­lec­tive in­ter­ven­tion by the in­ter­na­tional com­mu­nity,” Bett said.

Kenya has adopted the Blue Eco­nomic Devel­op­ment Model for marine wa­ters for ac­cel­er­ated eco­nomic growth. In ad­di­tion, Kenya sub­scribes to the UN’s Food and Agri­cul­ture Or­gan­i­sa­tion Blue Growth Ini­tia­tive and has adopted the UN’s Sus­tain­able Devel­op­ment Goals, which recog­nise the im­por­tant role played by oceans, seas, lakes and rivers.

/ALPHONCE GARI

Chil­dren on hol­i­day pose with fish on De­cem­ber 12 last year dur­ing a fish­ing com­pe­ti­tion held an­nu­ally in Lamu

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