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Shipping line revival key to blue economy plans

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By PETER MBURU
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Revamping the Kenya National Shipping Line (KNSL) is among the key actions the government will focus on to show its commitment to the blue economy initiative as it seeks to tap into the potential of its water bodies, Transport CS James Macharia said Tuesday.

The CS said reviving the shipping line, which has been moribund for 20 years, will bring about economic benefits the country has gone without for a long time, adding that the government is keen to conserve the marine environment.

“Critical to our agenda is to explore the opportunities available within our waters and establish economically viable policies at the national level. We are revamping the Kenya National Shipping Line, which has been dormant for about 20 years. All this is geared to ensuring that we play a big role in the blue economy,” Mr Macharia said during a meeting with Korean government delegates attending the Blue Economy Conference in Nairobi.

KNSL is expected to create up to 6,000 jobs within five years of its revival, with the potential to earn the country some Sh300 billion.

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He said the government is developing an ocean policy to help protect water bodies from pollution and other negative effects and also protect their economy. He noted that the disposal of municipal effluence into water reservoirs is a challenge that needs to be tackled.

Meanwhile, Mr Dong Yang, the director-general in the ministry of oceans and fisheries in Korea, said his government would like to boost the fishing industry by using technology and practical ways that benefit farmers.

“Our government is very interested in nurturing talent to modernise the fishing industry and get maximum benefits through the practice of a smart aquaculture system. Korean universities will offer fully funded scholarships to learners to equip them with skills,” Mr Dong said.

Mr Dong advised the farmers to practise small-scale fish farming, which is manageable and ensures maximum production.

“Kenya needs to accept customised ways in fisheries, practising fish in small ponds and small fishing points is the way to maximise production. We do not need complicated aquaculture techniques, but appropriate ones,” he said.

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