Kenya marine business is set for a major boost following the launch of a new deep sea fishing vessel that is expected to substantially raise harvests and put Mombasa firmer on the global fisheries map.
The KCB Foundation in partnership with the County Government of Mombasa launched the MV Mombasa 00, a first of its kind and locally constructed at a cost of Ksh 15 Million and expected to increase fish harvest in the county to over 40,000 kilograms per month.
KCB Foundation, under the Mifugo Ni Mali program, financed the acquisition of the vessel following a zero percent interest rate loan of Ksh 30 Million extended to the County Government of Mombasa.
Mifugo Ni Mali program is a livestock value chain development programme launched in 2014 by KCB Foundation, targeting livestock keepers in the Arid and Semi-Arid Lands (ASALs).
General (Rtd) Joseph Kibwana, Board Director at the KCB Group said,
“Investing in Kenya’s marine sector is strategic to the economic growth and this will encourage further investments along the fisheries value chain, thus creating a viable and sustainable industry,”
He added that the local fishermen only have access to small, non-motorized boats such as outriggers and dhows that cannot go further than the reef or approximately five nautical miles.
Under the rules of the Exclusive Economic Zone, Kenya’s coastal fishermen are allowed to fish up to 200 nautical miles from the shorelines but fish production from the Indian Ocean has constantly remained low, even with studies higher potential
The low production has led to an increased number of fish imports from China that grew from Ksh259 Million in 2013 to Ksh1Billion in 2015 according to the Kenya National Bureau of Statistics.
Catherine Kola, Chairman, KCB Foundation said “If Kenya best deep-sea fishing spots are exploited well, they can prove beneficial to our economy.
The benefits of this deep sea fishing vessel are immeasurable as they will help generate 10,000 jobs for the local youth.”
She added that the interest shown by foreign fishing vessels in Kenya’s offshore waters indicate that periodically, there are large stocks of pelagic species such as tuna and tuna-like species, signalling the need to expand fishing capacity in the Exclusive Economic Zone.
It is estimated that Kenya’s marine fishery sector has the potential to produce 150,000–300,000 Metric tonnes of fish annually.
However, but only 9,000 Metric tonnes was produced in 2015 as compared to countries like Somalia which produced 132,000 Metric Tonnes the same year.
Mombasa Governor, Hassan Joho stated that his government is committed to working with the private sector.
This partnership aims to mobilize resources to help in scaling up economic activities in the County, in order to create enabling environments for local entrepreneurs to thrive sustainably.
He added that the Mombasa County Government would provide extension services, give technical support to the local fishermen and support breeding, nutrition, market access and related services to ensure the success of the fish value chain.
At least 4000 youth are poised to benefit directly benefit directly through the commissioning of the deep sea fishing vessel.