NAIROBI, March 17 (Xinhua) -- Kenya is developing a policy that will enable the country to expand its marine fisheries industry on its coastal waters, officials said on Friday.
Principal Secretary in Maritime and Shipping Affairs Nancy Karigithu told a business forum in Nairobi that in 2016 the marine fisheries sector yielded 9,134 metric tons out of an annual potential of 350,000 tonnes.
"The Marine Resource Exploitation Strategy and Policy will create a strong regulatory framework that will help Kenya to expand its marine fisheries sector," Karigithu said when Barclays Bank Kenya launched its marine cargo insurance policy.
Kenya has a 600 kilometer coastal strip along the Indian Ocean where marine resources like fish and mangroves are abundant.
The new marine resources policy will also help to develop a special economic zone for fish processing and value addition.
Karigithu said that Kenya's fisheries sector contributes less than one percent to the Gross Domestic Product.
"The country's inland waters including lakes and rivers generate more fish output as compared to the marine fisheries," she said.
The PS noted that Kenya's coastline is very rich in fisheries but production is hampered by technical and human resources deficiencies.
She noted that the bulk of marine fishing is carried out on a small scale while illegal fishing by foreign fishing vessels is rampant.
"In order to increase marine fisheries catch there are plans to use technology to help the local fisherfolk identify fishing zones in the vast ocean waters," said the PS.