By Paul Kimanzi

The newly appointed Principal Secretary State Department for Fisheries, Aquaculture and the Blue Economy Dr Francis O. Owino has pledged his support for Kenya to unlock the full potential of the blue economy.

During his maiden visit to Kenya Marine and Fisheries Research Institute (KMFRI) on Tuesday where he met the top management and KMFRI scientists, Dr Owino said he would give the Institute all the necessary support to ensure Kenya explores the full potential of the ocean economy. KMFRI is the focal point in providing scientific data in the management of ocean resources for the country.

“The country demands of you to provide answers as researchers to take the country to the next level. We demand that you provide answers to the fishing challenges we face as a country,” he said.

To explore the multi-billion blue economy sector, the PS urged the scientists to deepen their research assuring them of his support in the full implementation of the research findings, to accelerate the economic growth.

In his remarks, KMFRI BoM Chairman John Safari Mumba urged the Institute to ensure that the research conducted is more responsive to the needs of the community.

The blue economy is viewed as the next frontier of growth and prosperity as Kenya steps up search for ocean economy billions. Thousands of Kenyans depend on the ocean for their livelihoods.

Kenya has proclaimed the 200 nautical miles (nm) Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ) as provided for by the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS) with an ocean area of about 142,000 km2 considering the 200 nm EEZ limit.

The country has further applied for an extra 150 nm EEZ extension for the exploitation of bottom ocean bed resources. This amounts to 245,000 km2 total ocean area which is 42% of her total land area making Kenya a maritime state.