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KMFRI Director Prof James Njiru has signed an MoU with Dr Paul Connolly of Marine Institute (Ireland). The signing ceremony which took place in Nairobi on November 8, 2017, was witnessed by Mr Simon Conway, the Minister of Foreign Affairs, Irish Republic, and State Department of Fisheries & Blue Economy PS Prof Micheni Ntiba.

On Tuesday (November 7, 2017) Prof Njiru had hosted Dr Connoly and head of Sea Fisheries Protection Agency in Kenya Dr Susan Sheel at KMFRI’s offices where they discussed areas of collaboration and shared experiences on how best resources in the coastal and marine areas of Kenya can be sustainably used.  SFPA’s slogan is ‘Coasts Full of Jobs and Seas Full of Fish’. Acting Director General of Kenya Fisheries Service Susan Imende, KMFRI Deputy Director in Marine and Coastal Systems Dr Renison Ruwa and KMFRI researchers drawn from fisheries, modeling, data management, aquaculture, fish larval ecology and mariculture departments attended the Tuesday forum.

Both Kenya and Ireland want the ocean to benefit Kenyans, and especially the coastal communities, and educate the people on how they can tap into its resources and the effects of climate change.

On Tuesday, Prof Njiru gave a brief presentation of KMFRI’s programmes, most of which underpin on sustainability of fisheries, and informed the delegation that KMFRI has a research vessel - RV Mtafiti - donated by the Belgian government.

Sustainable fisheries have the capacity to generate more profits and transform societies in the long term, noting there is a shift to ecosystem-based management with the common old fisheries becoming less popular. 

Prof Njiru said RV Mtafiti has enabled the Institute to conduct research in the Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ) and estimated fish biomass.

Dr Connolly gave a brief of his interaction with Kenya on matters marine and fisheries. In February 2015, a Kenyan delegation visited Galway, a city in the West of Ireland, and the team agreed to collaborate in areas of research and science with the Irish Republic. In August 2015, he attended the Sixth Tokyo International Conference on African Development (TICAD-VI) in Nairobi where talks of signing an MoU came up.

Dr Sheen shared her experiences in data collection in Ireland and the mandate her Institute holds. She said they have a specialized designed system – IFIS - that has an electronic log books for gathering data. 

Dr Ruwa underscored that the government is pro-community, with the rolling out of devolved system of governance in 2013.

Areas of Cooperation in the MoU include:

  1. Marine fisheries management plans
  2. Hydro Acoustics and Assessment of Pelagic Fisheries Resources
  3. Spatial analyses and mapping of vessel monitoring systems (VMS)
  4. Integration of VMS and Logbook data for Fisheries Management
  5. Data Management
  6. Study visits and exchange of experts
  7. The establishment of a joint PhD and Post-Doctoral research projects
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