Maritime regulator takes the lead in mangrove conservation efforts

The Secretary General of PMAESA Col. Andre Cisce (in white) with members of the public from Jomvu led by Kenya Maritime Authority (KMA) plant seedlings at Mkupe Mangrove forest, February 21, 2019. KMA led in planting more than three thousand mangrove seedlings. [Gideon Maundu/Standard]
Maritime regulator, Kenya Maritime Authority (KMA) has stepped up efforts to conserve the endangered mangrove forest cover along the Coast by planting over 3000 seedlings.

The exercise took place at the Mkupe Creek, Port Reitz area off Mombasa County.

KMA Director General, Major (Rtd) George Nyamoko Okongo' in a speech read on his behalf by John Omingo, Head of Commercial Shipping at KMA said that mangrove trees serves as an important spawning grounds, nurseries, nutrients and shelter variety of marine species including some commercially important fish like shrimp, crabs, reptiles, amphibians, mammals and birds.

''Statistics show that mangrove forest cover points to a bleak future. 25 years ago (between 1985-2010), Kenya lost about 18 per cent at an average rate of 0.7 per cent per year due to over harvesting for fuel /wood and construction,'' Major Okongo said.

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He added that pollution from industries, agricultural effluent and domestic run-off and incidences of oil spills that occur from time to time have led to decay in mangrove forest cover population.

The DG said that recently President Uhuru Kenyatta launched an ambitious programme in tree planting whose overall goal was to increase the country forest cover from the current 7 per cent to 15 per cent by 2020.

''KMA has today teamed up with various stakeholders to plant mangroves. We are committed to ensuring that national tree planting drive is a huge success and in reversing the country's worrying level trends of deforestation,'' the DG said.

Port Management Association of Eastern and Southern Africa (PMAESA) Secretary General Col. Andre Cisse lauded KMA for the initiative which he termed as an excellent venture.

''We need to continuously remind ourselves of the importance of combating pollution especially marine pollution. The Blue Economy strategy of Kenya is another frontier for development and quality of marine resources will be important source of food security to help create economic growth for the country,'' Col Cisse said.

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Representative of the Jomvu constituency legislator, Badi Twalib, Moffat Murage said that they have embarked on closer working relation with the local Beach Management Units (BMU) who are the sole custodians of beach frontage areas to foster conservation efforts.

''BMU play a key role in conservation of beach frontage areas hence the office of the local MP has made strides to work closely with them in all aspects of beach management,'' he said.

Mombasa County Chief Officer for Environment, Waste Management and Energy, Dr June Mwajuma commended KMA for embracing mangrove reforestation exercise and pledge to support similar venture within Mombasa County.

''We do not have any kind of forest in Mombasa expect the mangrove trees which we must strive to conserve,'' she said.

MaritimeKenya Maritime AuthorityKMAMangrove ForestMkupe Creek