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The government of Kenya and FAO have launched the Blue Growth Initiative (BGI) to benefit the aquaculture sector in the coastal region of Kenya

Fishing in Kenya - United Nations Photo - FlickrAquaculture in coastal and marine environments is lagging behind freshwater aquaculture in Kenya. (Image source: United Nations Photo/Flickr)

Speaking at the launch event in Mombasa, Kenya’s acting cabinet secretary for agriculture, livestock and fisheries Adan Mohamed said, “Improvements targeted across the various aspects of fisheries management as well as regulatory barriers, difficulty in accessing funding, fragmented research and development, and poor access to markets need to be addressed.

“Particular attention may be given to empowering the small/rural or artisanal fishermen and fish farmers who contribute consistently to the seafood supply chain, but do not have the capacity to optimise their farming or fish catch.”

The inland aquaculture sector in Kenya is growing steadily but mariculture, which is aquaculture in coastal and marine environments, is lagging behind. While most of the current aquaculture production is based in freshwater fish farming, the Kenyan coastline has substantial potential for mariculture.

FAO’s representative in Kenya, Dr. Luca Alinovi, explained, “We can sustainability develop mariculture through improving the governance and management of the aquatic ecosystems, conservation of biodiversity and habitats and most importantly, empower vulnerable communities engaged in small-scale production to act as resource users and stewards.”

In collaboration with the government of Kenya, FAO has developed two projects worth a total of US$1mn. Both projects aim to increase knowledge of water basin to coral reef ecosystem services supporting food, nutrition and livelihood security so as to guide and improve investment in sustainable coastal mariculture. This includes a better integration of the sector into other activities in the coastal zones so as to increase understanding in conserving and improving coastal ecosystem services.

Mohamed expressed his belief that these projects "will culminate in opportunities for major investments, additional livelihoods for the coastal communities and overall well-being for the Kenyan people as envisaged in Kenya’s development Blue Print Vision 2030".