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Conserving Aquatic Biodiversity in African Blue Economy


Kenya seeks harmonization of maritime laws to avert blue economy resource abuse

Posted by Francis Mtalaki on 18 October 2022 1:05 PM CAT
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By Francis Mtalaki 
Kenya has joined other Africa Union member states in seeking harmonization of blue economy regulations in the quest to ensure full sustainability and exploitation of the multi-Billion blue economy opportunities.
Kenya is among the countries that have suffered from illegal fishing, ocean pollution and other maritime crimes perpetrated by foreign fishing multinationals that have threatened the sustainability and conservation of aquatic biodiversity.
Acting director Africa Union inter Africa bureau for animal resources AU-IBAR Nick Nwankpa said Kenya is among countries that are endowed with great maritime resources thus there is need to harness the resource potential in line with standardized procedure.
 “The challenge is lack of harmonization of laws, some people use chemicals to fish, while other people use trawlers with nets that are not allowed, a lot of sea pollution, we need to regulate this in one voice so that we can harness the blue economy within the confines with the law,” he added.
He said many resources have remained untapped within the African Maritime sphere adding that control and enforcing regulations that restricts multinational organizations from exploiting resources is important to enforce.
“We are endowed with great maritime resources in oceans; we need to put regulations in place that will be harmonized along the continent so that a person in one country knows what is required of them so as to effectively protect biodiversity, “said Nick Nwankpa.
He made the remarks in Mombasa yesterday on the sidelines of a three day conserving aquatic biodiversity in Africa Blue economy project technical committee meeting bringing together Africa Union development partners.
“Conserving aquatic biodiversity is key by strengthening institutions that will lead to enhancing governance to these resources, we need to keep best practices so that fishing can be sustainable, and there will be no illegal fishing and pollution,” said Nwankpa.
Kenya AU-IBAR aquatic biodiversity expert specialist Joel Mukenye said Kenya is making significant strides in optimizing conservation in the blue economy while fighting climate change impacts to protect aquatic biodiversity.
“we very well understand that we have the African blue economy strategy, but now we want to ratify a technical committee that will steer the blue economy strategy in Africa,” he said. He said in the project, the committee will keep in check member states.
“We are at an advanced stage in developing a blue economy strategy and as a country we are looking at our priorities which are already captured in a template developed by IGAD,” he added.
 The committee is seeking to harmonise regulations to ensure sustainability of blue economy opportunities without necessarily having to destroy aquatic biodiversity that commands significant economic potential.
Dr Alberta Sagoe, a gender policy and strategy expert in the AU-IBAR said women have been marginalized in the implementation process of blue economy matters and thus the committee will factor in the women component during the implementation of the project.
Fishermen have been traditional users of seas, they have skills of managing the ecosystems, and as technology advances, they have been sidelined, so we want them to be involved in the affairs of managing the ecosystem,” said Sagoe.
“Most of the time in decision making ,women are abit marginalized, we are hoping that there will be a conscious decision in managing aquatic resources where women are involved actively,” said Sagoe.
Among the development partners are the Swedish international development agency which is funding the project. The stakeholders include public private, women organizations, research institutions, international institutions, such as FAO, UNEP among others.

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