Network Exchange Workshop: Small-Scale fisheries and the Blue Economy.

“Small-Scale fisheries and the Blue Economy”.

Knowledge, Involvement, and Perceptions of Local Actors. The case of Coastal Kenya

On the 29th June 2021, Community Action for Nature Conservation-Kenya, in partnership with the Western Indian Ocean Governance & Exchange Network (WIOGEN), conducted a workshop in Mombasa, Kenya entitled, “Small-Scale fisheries and the Blue Economy”. Knowledge, Involvement, and Perceptions of Local Actors. The case of Coastal Kenya. The workshop engaged 20 participants including local actors (fishermen, fish traders, community conservation groups), and civil society members (NGOs). The workshop report is available here. The workshop was participatory and aimed at answering the following questions:

i) do you understand the term ‘blue economy? And, what are the blue economy sectors?

ii) Are small-scale and artisanal fisheries an integral component of the blue economy?

iii) Is the blue economy concept promoting the sustainable wellbeing of the marine environment?

iv) Will the blue economy concept solve the biodiversity and climate change crisis?

v) What are the governance needs for achieving the sustainable blue economy agenda?

The indigenous people and local communities need adequate sensitization on the blue economy concept, and the need for their inclusion in decision-making processes. The community perception of the blue economy is that serious management& governance processes need to be implemented per the United Nations sustainable development goals, and other local legislative and regulatory frameworks. This is because the few ongoing developments lack sustainability measures, and yet the blue economy is deemed to be the solution to socio-economic empowerment and sustainable development of the region. Appropriate regulatory measures need to be enforced to prevent unsustainable exploitation of resources. The ministerial governments of the WIO region should embrace green energy sources such as wind energy, solar energy, tidal & wave energy to minimize carbon emissions.

The blue economy concept should consider the global biodiversity and climate change crisis due to unsustainable anthropogenic practices, and instead integrate the blue economy with the UN sustainable development goals and Paris agreement on climate change. This includes the inclusion of local people in policy formulation processes. The Kenya marine fisheries and socioeconomic development project and the Go Blue initiative should also embrace sustainable livelihood enhancement projects with goals that are likely to persist even after the project elapses. The development of marine fisheries socioeconomic development projects should incorporate lessons learned from previous projects to develop more sustainable projects. The local people were called upon to use appropriate tools in lobbying for their rights to a healthy marine environment such as the FAO Small-Scale fisheries Voluntary Guidelines, media & communication, and evidence-based advocacy (using the national laws and policies).