Kilifi county sets aside Sh26m for boat-making factory
The County Government of Kilifi has set aside Sh26 million to construct a boat-building factory this financial year, Deputy Governor Gideon Saburi says. The deputy governor said the factory would produce tailor-made boats of fibre boards to be availed to local fishermen to enhance fish harvest.
Speaking to fisheries stakeholders at the Mayungu fish landing site in Malindi sub- county, the deputy governor said the fisher-folk had not been able to fully exploit the immense blue resources due to lack of modern fishing gear.
He said that in the long term, the county was planning to facilitate establishment of fish-processing firms, build a fish port, establish a fish market and develop a fishing fleet in order to fully benefit from the blue economy.
Saburisaid that despite the fact that the county has the longest coastline at the Coast, it has an annual fish production of only three million kilogrammes valued at Sh500 million, contributing a paltry three per cent of Kenya’s total annual fish production.
The deputy governor said rampant use of illegal gears among the fishermen had become the main source of conflicts between them and the county government as this had led to a reduction of the in-show fisheries resources. He called on them to follow the law while exploiting the resources.
“To reduce these conflicts, the county government has promoted the establishment of co-management areas to regulate gear usage within specific sites, such as the Kuruwitu Beach Management Unit site where fishing is controlled. “The county government plans to identify other areas and designate them as conservation areas in our quest to control over-exploitation of the fisheries resource,” he said.
Saburi said the county administration had, since the onset of devolution, been implementing a comprehensive fisheries development plan through developing the capacity of her fisher folk, developing landing sites for enhanced infrastructure and markets for the fish produce. “To date, the county Government of Kilifi has supported the development of two cold storage facilities, nine fish landing depots, one private fish processing factory and one ice-processing plant,” he said.
The deputy governor said in the medium-term, the county government would strengthen the capacity of the fisheries directorate through training and equipping community fisheries management structures, developing the fish landing sites infrastructure and build the capacity of local fishermen to be able to exploit deep-sea fishing among others.
The fisheries sector in Kilifi county employs about 5,000 fishermen directly and 11,000 people indirectly through fish marketing, gear supply and the overall fisheries value chain. The county has slightly over 1,000 fishing crafts, 60 fish landing sites and 17 beach management units (BMUs) registered under the county government.
Saburi said the sport fishing industry in the county is well advanced, with most of the main sport fishing clubs basing their activities in Mtwapa, Kilifi and Watamu areas.
The sector, he said, was not only important in the fisheries industry but also as a tourism activity. “The county is leading in the production of marine ornamental fishery along the Kenyan Coast,” he said.
He called on the national government to partner with Kilifi in enhancing skills of the country’s fisher folk through sponsoring some of the potential youth in accessing ocean-based skills.