Murimi Mutiga @murimimutiga
Kenya’s capability to secure its maritime boarders has been enhanced after it secured more surveillance boats. The final six of the 10 Metal Shark boats, provided through Sh500 million of grant funding from United States Department of Defence, were delivered to the Kenya Navy at the port of Mombasa.
They will be used to monitor activities in the Indian Ocean, among them illegal fishing, drug trafficking and piracy, which are some of the biggest maritime threats. It comes at a time when the country is keen on diversifying her sources of growth by pursuing the blue economy.
Globally, it is estimated that the blue economy contributes about $1.5 trillion (Sh152 trillion) per annum or three per cent of global GDP, and creates about 350 million jobs in fishing, aquaculture, coastal and marine tourism and research activities.
Blue economy involves sustainable use of ocean resources for economic growth, improved livelihoods and jobs, while preserving the health of marine and coastal ecosystem.
Illegal fishing in the Kenyan territorial waters by foreign fleets has been cited as one of the key challenges in the country’s effort to increase its bounty from the sea.
In 2014, President Uhuru Kenyatta said that Kenya loses Sh10 billion from illegal fishing in its exclusive economic zone. The government set up a blue economy implementation committee to coordinate and oversee implementation of the plan in January last year.