President Uhuru Kenyatta on Monday launched the Kenya Coast Guard Service at Liwatoni in Mombasa County in an effort to secure Kenya’s territorial waters.
“For too long we have experienced multiple problems with marine security including illegal, unreported and unregulated fishing by foreign trawlers, smuggling of contraband goods and the degradation of marine ecosystems,” said the President during the event.
“The Kenya Coast Guard Service will ensure that our ocean will no longer be used by drug and human traffickers, illegal arms dealers and illegal fishing vessels. It will guard against exploitation of our natural resources by foreign countries and ensure that never again will a foreign vessel steal our fish.”
In addition, President Kenyatta also signed two executive orders establishing the Kenya Fisheries Corporation and the Bandari Maritime Academy which will be critical in revitalizing the Blue Economy in Kenya.
According to President Kenyatta, the country loses over Ksh.10 billion annually through illegal fishing and it is only through efficient utilization of maritime resources that Kenya will be able to emulate other countries that have excelled in the sector.
In that regard, President Kenyatta directed the State Department of Fisheries and the National Land Commission to repossess all public fishing landing sites that have been illegally acquired by unscrupulous people by the end of March 2019.
Similarly Deputy President William Ruto; who also graced the event, said the launch of the Kenya Coast Guard Service is a historic milestone that will transform the country’s economy for current and future generations.
“The government’s effort to revive the Blue Economy is about enhancing our manufacturing sector, job creation and food security which are at the heart of the Big 4 agenda,” said the Deputy President.
Interior Cabinet Secretary Fred Matiang’i, who was also in attendance, likewise reassured the Kenyan populous that the government will protect fishermen and Kenya’s maritime resources accordingly.
“We will not negotiate on our marine resources and our territorial security. From today, we have assembled tools and coalesced resources within our security service to enable the Kenya Coast Guard Service to fully perform its functions,” said the Interior CS.