Three Beach Management Units (BMUs) in Kwale, Kilifi and Lamu counties have received medium-sized fishing boats from the government to enable them venture into deep sea fishing.
The boats christened Uvuvi 1, Uvuvi 2 and Uvuvi 3 cost Sh20 million each.
They have been installed with full navigation safety gear and can cruise at a high speed of 12 knots with 10 tonnes of fish.
Cabinet Secretary for Agriculture, Livestock and Fisheries Peter Munya (pictured), said two other modern boats would be procured for use in Lamu and Tana River to also tap into their huge aquatic resources.
''This intervention in boats distribution is expected to increase fisheries contribution to the Gross Domestic Product, create employment, encourage local investments and ensure sustainable utilisation of marine resources," he said while commissioning the vessels at the Liwatoni Fisheries Complex in Mombasa.
The CS said Kenya's total annual fish catch in 2019 stood at 146,687 metric tonnes.
This comprised 23,700 metric tonnes from marine products, 18,542 metric tonnes from aquaculture production and fresh water production of 102,331 metric tonnes.
Munya said this was against an estimated potential of 350,000 metric tonnes.
He said the commissioning of the three boats comes at a time 186 local fishermen have been trained in deep sea fishing at the Bandari Maritime Academy in Mombasa.
“The trained fishers are expected to offer specialised manpower to local fishing fleets which are undergoing expansion under the Blue Economy Programme,” he said.
The blue economy sector encompasses fisheries, maritime biotechnology, aquaculture, tourism and marine transport and logistics.
The CS said the government is refurbishing the Liwatoni Fishing Complex to provide first-class fisheries jetty, adequate cold storage, fish processing facility and a fish auction centre.
Munya said to promote fish handling, hygiene and reduce post-harvest losses, the government is constructing fish markets in Malindi and Likoni.