Combating Illegal, Unreported, And Unregulated Fishing In Kenyan Waters: Efforts And Challenges

By Soko Directory Team / Published May 30, 2024 | 7:18 pm



Fishing

Illegal, Unreported, and Unregulated (IUU) fishing is a significant threat to marine biodiversity, livelihoods, and food security worldwide. Kenya, with its extensive coastline along the Indian Ocean, is not immune to this challenge. I would like to explores the roles of various Kenyan government agencies in combating IUU fishing, particularly focusing on the activities of Chinese vessels in Kenyan waters, and the response of the Chinese embassy in Kenya.

The Kenya Maritime Authority (KMA) is at the forefront of regulating maritime activities in the country. Established to ensure maritime safety and security, KMA is also responsible for enforcing international conventions and regulations related to maritime operations. In the fight against IUU fishing, KMA collaborates with other agencies to monitor and control the entry and activities of foreign vessels, including those from China.

The Kenya Fisheries Service (KFS) plays a critical role in managing and conserving the country’s fishery resources. KFS is tasked with implementing policies and strategies to enhance sustainable fishing practices. In recent years, KFS has ramped up efforts to combat IUU fishing through surveillance and monitoring programs. They deploy patrol vessels and use satellite technology to track suspicious activities in Kenya’s Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ).

Kenya Coast Guard Service (KCGS), established in 2018, is a specialized unit designed to protect Kenya’s territorial waters from various threats, including IUU fishing. KCGS conducts regular patrols and joint operations with other agencies to apprehend and deter illegal fishing activities. The presence of KCGS has significantly boosted the enforcement capacity of Kenyan authorities.

Despite these efforts, the challenge of IUU fishing, particularly by Chinese vessels, remains substantial. Chinese fishing fleets are known for their extensive operations across the Indian Ocean, often engaging in practices that contravene local and international laws. Reports of Chinese vessels operating illegally in Kenyan waters have raised concerns among local communities and conservationists.

The Chinese embassy in Kenya has maintained a notable silence on the issue of IUU fishing by Chinese vessels. This silence has been interpreted by many as a tacit approval of such activities. Critics argue that the embassy’s lack of condemnation suggests that China’s interests in Kenya may extend beyond fostering international relations to include supporting illegal fishing through corrupt practices.

This perception is fueled by reports of bribery and corruption involving local officials, who allegedly turn a blind eye to the illegal activities of Chinese vessels. Such allegations undermine the efforts of Kenyan agencies and pose a significant obstacle to effective enforcement of anti-IUU regulations. The involvement of local authorities in these corrupt practices highlights the complexity of addressing IUU fishing in Kenya.

To address these challenges, Kenyan authorities need to strengthen their surveillance and enforcement mechanisms. This includes increasing the capacity of patrol vessels, enhancing inter-agency coordination, and leveraging technology for better monitoring of maritime activities. Furthermore, addressing corruption within local authorities is crucial to ensuring that laws and regulations are effectively enforced.

International cooperation is also essential in combating IUU fishing. Kenya should seek stronger partnerships with neighboring countries and international organizations to share intelligence and resources. This collaborative approach can help create a united front against illegal fishing activities in the Indian Ocean region.

The role of the Chinese embassy in Kenya must also be scrutinized. Diplomatic pressure and engagement are necessary to hold China accountable for the actions of its fishing fleets. Encouraging transparency and responsible fishing practices should be a priority in Kenya’s diplomatic relations with China.

Therefore, while Kenya’s maritime authorities are making concerted efforts to combat IUU fishing, significant challenges remain, particularly with the involvement of Chinese vessels. The silence of the Chinese embassy on this issue raises questions about their role in fostering sustainable international relations. Addressing IUU fishing in Kenya requires a multi-faceted approach, involving strengthened enforcement, international cooperation, and diplomatic engagement to ensure the protection of marine resources and the livelihoods dependent on them.

Read Also: Who Issues Fishing Permits for Chinese Vessels in the Indian Ocean?




About Soko Directory Team

Soko Directory is a Financial and Markets digital portal that tracks brands, listed firms on the NSE, SMEs and trend setters in the markets eco-system.Find us on Facebook: facebook.com/SokoDirectory and on Twitter: twitter.com/SokoDirectory

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