The Government of Kenya being cognizant of the blue economy as a new frontier for development and having acknowledged it as the 8th economic pillar for the achievement of vision 2030, organized a two day confrence on Sustainable blue economy at the Grand Royal Swiss Hotel in Kisumu.
The conference held under the theme, ”Harnessing the Blue Economy Opportunities in the Lake Region” focuses on driving economic development through provision of transportation, exploitation of offshore oil and gas resources, tourism, creation of employment opportunities, provision of food, nutrition and livelihoods to hundreds of millions of people.
Kisumu Governor, Professor Nyong’o while giving his opening remarks, reiterated that opening of the Kisumu Port will set a new path to economic recovery in both the region and nationally. This will provide an investment opportunity to government and private sectors to tap the potential of leisure, tourism, transport, fishing among other economic activities associated with the lake
While giving his speech during the official opening of the conference, the Cabinet Secretary for Agriculture, Livestock and Fisheries, Dr Mwangi Kiunjuri stated that sustainable utilization of Lake Victoria and other water resources in the region is an integral part of the big four agenda and socioeconomic wellbeing of communities in the five (5) riparian counties namely Busia, Siaya,Kisumu, Homabay and Migori. However, Lake Victoria fishery has experienced a worrying decline in fish stocks and diversity, and subsequent fall in fish catches of 64% from 140 000Mts to 90 000Mts per year in the last five years
This he attributed to unsustainable fishing practices as a result of weak oversight and enforcement; proliferation of water hyacinth; conversion of sensitive shoreline wetlands; political interference in the management of fisheries; and weak collaboration between the National and County Governments
He promised that his Ministry will address the challenges by reviving fisheries in the region, implementing the new policy and institutional framework on fisheries management, enforcement of fisheries regulations, develop incubation of fisheries and aquaculture enterprises to increase fish consumption and food security, livelihoods and wellbeing of the communities in the region
Also in attendance were Principle Secretary Fisheries, Professor Micheni Ntiba, Dr James Nyikal representing MPs in the region, Deputy Governor Vihiga County Dr Patrick Lumumba Saisi ,Vice Chancellors from Maseno University, Bondo University, TUK University, County Ministers from the region, Heads of Technical training institutes, Chief Executive Officers from Parastatals in the region, Chief Officers from Counties within the region, MDs of private sectors among other guests.