NAIROBI, Aug. 19 (Xinhua) -- Kenya said on Friday it has launched the process of ratifying an international maritime deal to help deter illegal fishing.
Agriculture, Livestock and Fisheries Cabinet Secretary Willy Bett said ratification of the Port State Measures Agreement (PSMA) will help curb an escalation of transnational and organized criminal networks engaged in illegal, unregulated and unreported (IUU) fishing.
"We have set an Inter-Agency committee to spearhead this process since IUU fishing is a serious global problem," Bett said in a statement issued in Nairobi on Friday.
Bett said that fish are valuable commodity that is capable of spurring economic development with a view to meeting the country's Vision 2030.
IUU fishing is causing economic losses to global economies and is estimated that catches representing some 11-26 million tons of seafood valued at some 10-23.5 billion U.S. dollars are being lost annually.
In Kenya, it is estimated that the country is losing 100 million dollars annually besides undermining resource conservation, food security and livelihoods and destabilizing vulnerable coasts.
Bett revealed that the move that is expected to enable Kenya join the global initiative in fighting IUU fishing has been principally domesticated in the Fisheries Management and Development Bill, which has passed through the National Parliament.
"These regional and international efforts will deny vessels engaged in IUU fishing from using ports and landing their catches to national and international markets," Bett revealed.
He said that by implementing the PSMA, the financial gains that flow to illegal actors could be recaptured by the Kenya Government and local fishing communities.
"The PSMA provides a unique opportunity to harmonize and strengthen port State controls in Kenya and around the globe," he added.
Kenya signed the PSMA in November 2010 expressing its intent of ratifying the agreement, but has not yet ratified the instrument as required.
The country has already constructed a Monitoring, Control and Surveillance center in Mombasa and are in the process of installing the Vessel Monitoring System.
The country has also established an Inter-agency Committee which is already implementing the regional and national obligations using the Standard Operating Procedures for inspection and boarding.
"We are now in the process of purchasing an offshore patrol vessel and a number of compliance inspectors have been trained," Bett added.