New state agency to con­trol fish­ing and re­lated ac­tiv­i­ties

The Kenya Fish­eries Ser­vice will be es­tab­lished as pro­vided by an Act of Par­lia­ment. It will de­velop stan­dards for im­prov­ing pro­duc­tion

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

A new paras­tatal, the Kenya Fish­eries Ser­vice, will be es­tab­lished un­der the Fish­eries Man­age­ment and De­vel­op­ment Act 2016, Fish­eries PS Japhet Ntiba said yes­ter­day.

He said the law, which came into op­er­a­tion in Septem­ber, has paved way for the es­tab­lish­ment of the state body. Ntiba said the ser­vice will con­serve, man­age and de­velop Kenya’s fish­eries re­sources. “It will de­velop stan­dards for the man­age­ment of all fish­eries, aqua­cul­ture and fish­ing-re­lated ac­tiv­i­ties within the scope of the Act,” he said.

“No­body in Kenya knows which fish should be caught. This has led to mis­man­age­ment of our fish re­sources and the con­tin­ued fish­ing of the young Nile Perch. Ninety-five per cent of the Nile Perch caught in Lake Vic­to­ria are ju­ve­nile and we need to pro­tect the young ones to sup­port breed­ing.”

Speak­ing at the Panafric Ho­tel, Ntiba said the Ser­vice will en­force the law to pro­tect young fish, adding the new Act has re­pealed the Fish­eries Act Cap 378. The Act has also made stiffer penal­ties for crimes, in­clud­ing il­le­gal, un­reg­u­lated and un­re­ported fish­ing ac­tiv­i­ties.

“Many at time, you com­mit a very se­ri­ous crime such as killing species and you are only fined Sh10,000. Now be aware, you could pay up to Sh50 mil­lion or get jailed. Last year, In­done­sia sank 200 ves­sels due to il­le­gal, un­reg­u­lated and un­re­ported fish­ing ac­tiv­i­ties and the same will now start hap­pen­ing in Kenya,” he said.

The Act has cre­ated other in­stitu- tions, in­clud­ing the Kenya Fish­eries Ad­vi­sory Coun­cil, the Kenya Fish­eries Levy Trust Fund, the Fish Mar­ket­ing Au­thor­ity and the Fish­eries Re­search and De­vel­op­ment Fund.

Kenya fish con­sump­tion per capita in­creased from two kilo­grammes per per­son per year to five kg per per­son per year. Ntiba said Kenya pro­duces slightly be­low 200,000 met­ric tonnes, with much go­ing to the ex­ter­nal mar­ket, hence the need to pro­duce more for the lo­cal mar­ket.

“If Kenyans start eat­ing fish as the rest of Africa, so that per capita con­sump­tion moves to 10 kg per per­son per year, we will need to pro­duce more than 300,000 met­ric tonnes per year for do­mes­tic con­sump­tion alone. Out tar­get is to pro­duce more than 900,000 met­ric tonnes per year to meet our do­mes­tic de­mand and en­gage in [in­ter­na­tional] trade,” he said.


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