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