Monitoring IUU Fishing In Kenya And Tanzania: Addressing The China Angle

By Steve Biko Wafula / Published May 21, 2024 | 9:56 am



Fish

Illegal, Unreported, and Unregulated (IUU) fishing poses a significant threat to the sustainability of fisheries worldwide. In Kenya and Tanzania, the issue is particularly pressing given the extensive coastline and valuable marine resources.

The authorities in these countries are actively engaged in efforts to monitor and combat IUU fishing, with various government bodies playing critical roles.

In Kenya, the Kenya Fisheries Service (KFS) is the principal agency responsible for monitoring, control, and surveillance (MCS) of fisheries. This agency works in collaboration with several other organizations, including the Kenya Coastguard Service, Kenya Ports Authority, and the National Environment Management Authority. These entities collectively form a comprehensive framework to combat IUU fishing through capacity building, enforcement, and surveillance activities. Recent reviews by the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) highlighted ongoing improvements and recommended further enhancements in these efforts.

Similarly, in Tanzania, the Deep-sea Fishing Authority (DSFA) manages the Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ) fisheries. The DSFA operates alongside other national bodies such as the Tanzania Fisheries Research Institute (TAFIRI) and the Ministry of Livestock and Fisheries. These organizations focus on ensuring compliance with national and international regulations, conducting scientific research, and enhancing enforcement capabilities through advanced MCS technologies.

Both Kenya and Tanzania are also part of regional collaborations, such as the Indian Ocean Tuna Commission (IOTC), which plays a pivotal role in coordinating fisheries management across member states. The IOTC requires member countries to provide accurate and timely data on tuna fisheries, which is crucial for sustainable management.

One critical aspect of the IUU fishing problem in these regions is the involvement of foreign fishing fleets, particularly from China. China has been frequently cited in global reports for its extensive involvement in IUU fishing activities. For instance, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) identified China in its reports for engaging in IUU fishing and related activities that undermine sustainable fisheries management.

Despite these challenges, there have been efforts to foster international cooperation. Both Kenya and Tanzania participate in global initiatives aimed at reducing IUU fishing through international agreements like the Port State Measures Agreement (PSMA), which seeks to prevent illegally caught fish from entering the market. This agreement mandates that vessels comply with regulations before entering port, thus curbing the flow of illicitly caught fish.

However, the collaboration with China on these issues remains complex. While there are instances of bilateral agreements and participation in international frameworks, the effectiveness of these collaborations often faces scrutiny. Reports indicate that while some progress has been made, there are persistent concerns about the enforcement of regulations and the transparency of fishing operations involving Chinese fleets.

For meaningful progress, it’s crucial that Kenya and Tanzania continue to enhance their MCS capabilities, leveraging technology such as vessel tracking systems and satellite monitoring. Strengthening legal frameworks, increasing penalties for violations, and enhancing regional cooperation are essential steps. Furthermore, fostering genuine partnerships with China, based on mutual respect and adherence to international laws, is vital for addressing the IUU fishing problem comprehensively.

In conclusion, the fight against IUU fishing in Kenya and Tanzania is multifaceted, involving national agencies, regional bodies, and international cooperation. While challenges persist, especially concerning foreign fleets like those from China, ongoing efforts and increased global collaboration hold promise for sustainable fisheries management in the region.

Read Also: Illegal Fishing By The Chinese In The Indian Ocean A Risk To Our Businesses And A Serious Violation Of Human Rights




About Steve Biko Wafula

Steve Biko is the CEO OF Soko Directory and the founder of Hidalgo Group of Companies. Steve is currently developing his career in law, finance, entrepreneurship and digital consultancy; and has been implementing consultancy assignments for client organizations comprising of trainings besides capacity building in entrepreneurial matters.He can be reached on: +254 20 510 1124 or Email: info@sokodirectory.com

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