14TH NOV. 2016


National Research Ship RV Mtafiti embarks on a 25 days cruise to collect Fisheries Hydro-Acoustics Information to drive Marine Blue Economy
Cruise title : RV Mtafiti Territorial Seas and North Kenya Banks Fisheries Hydro-Acoustics Survey 20th Nov - 15th Dec 2016.

  • Cruise survey code : RVM01_112016
  • The cruise is fully funded by the Gok and the scope covers territorial waters and EEZ .

KMFRI Strategic Plan and Fisheries Policy ( 2008 ) objectives form the focus of the cruise as follows;


  • Testing of the effectiveness of drop line gears targeting deep water dermasal fish species.
  • Entire coastal line from off Shimoni in the south on shallow water Echo-sounder track all the way to off Kiunga in the north.
  • Deep water trackline spanning the entire Kenyas' EEZ.

THEMATIC AREAS TO BE COVERED ( cruise strategy )

  • Continental slope drop line dermasal fishery exploratory survey.
  • Pelagic long line fishery survey.
  • Physical Oceanographic survey.
  • Chemical nutrient profiling in water column and sediments.
  • Biological Oceanographic survey.
  • Marine biodiversity ( Marine mammals, sea birds and turtles ).

Kenya is essentially a maritime state with total ocean area of 245,000 km 2 comprising 42% of the total land area. These are categorized as follows;

  1. Internal territorial waters.
  2. Territorial sea.
  3. Contiguous zone.
  4. EEZ
  5. Continental shelf and
  6. Archipelagic waters.

The marine environment is characterized by the movement of the Inter-Tropical Convergence Zone (ITCZ) which is driven by the seasonal monsoon winds.

During the North East Monsoon (NEM), between November and March, the northward flowing East African Coastal Current meets the southward flowing Somali current to form the eastward flowing Equatorial Counter Current. During this season, the ocean waters in near-shore areas have higher salinities than SEM due of low precipitation and reduced river discharge compared to the SEM period. The Kenyan coast is characterized by a shallow lagoon protected by a fringing reef 1-3km offshore. The rock and coral bearing seabed, a narrow continental shelf and sheltered Islands and bays habitats accommodate a high diversity of demersal marine fish species including those identified as priority under the KCDP Scale Intensity Consequence Analysis (SICA) process. No acoustic and drop line survey has been conducted in this area, where a large part of demersal stocks may be found at offshore reefs and the continental slope more, than 300m. There is, therefore, limited information on deep slope demersal fish resources distribution and species assemblage in areas beyond 100m depth.

The species that occur in the slope habitats that are likely to be captured by drop line gear belongs to three 3 main taxa: snappers, groupers and emperors. The table below details the priority listing. The Priority 1 list species are likely to dominate drop line catches for the main taxa and will be preferentially sampled. Main depth stratum .

Was assigned based on published information relating to stratification and/or local knowledge (shallow = 40-100 m; intermediate = 100-250 m; deep = 250-600 m).

THREATS TO MARINE BIODIVERSITY (Marine mammals, sea birds and turtles).

  • Entanglement and capture by fishing gears.
  • Direct exploitation.
  • Habitat degradation.
  • Chemical and Acoustic pollution.
  • Ship strikes.
  • Ecosystem degradation.


  • Estimate the biomass and determine the spatial and temporal distribution patterns of fish in Kenyas' EEZ.
  • Provide data on bathymetry and sea bed morphology.
  • Correlation of oceanographic characteristics with fish distribution.


The expected deliverables for research will include:

  1. Cruise summary report within 1 month of the survey (Chief Scientist);
  2. Effort, catch, biological and environmental data captured onto paper datasheets and excel database;
  3. Biological samples collected as outlined in the activity section;
  4. Frozen or chemically preserved whole specimen samples as required;
  5. Marine mammals. sea-birds and turtles occurrence report;
  6. Acoustic data;
  7. Fish biomass/densities;
  8. Bathymetry maps;
  9. Productivity maps as informed by nutrients levels and plankton densities;
  10. Technical report of the cruise.

RV Mtafiti cruising speed is 14.5 knots with a capacity for 47 crew members. It can stay in the sea for 17 days before replenishing of supplies.