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Kenyan youths targeted in coral reefs restoration at the coast

By Standard Reporter | June 18th 2019

MOMBASA, KENYA: Plans to restore degraded coral reefs at the Kenyan Coast are on top gear with youths targeted in the process

According to the Coast Development Authority (CDA), coral reef habitats in the counties of Mombasa, Kwale, Kilifi, and Lamu have been heavily degraded due to bleaching, sedimentation and overfishing by local communities.

“Majority of coral reef habitats have been heavily degraded because of global warming and pollution of all kinds,” said CDA Managing Director Dr. Mohamed Keinan.

“Coral reefs are among the most threatened ecosystems largely due to the unprecedented global warming and climate changes and warned their disappearance will have economic, social and health consequences,” he added.

As an intervention process, he says the authority has developed a three-year sustainable restoration programme, a Kenya Climate Change Adaptation Programme (KCCAP) funded by Adaptation Fund under the United Nations Framework Convention for Climate Change (UNFCCC).

The project involves working at the community level with fishers and groups in rebuilding the reefs along the coastline of Wasini Island in Shimoni area of Kwale, and it is planned to be replicated to other degraded coral reef sites.

The initiative follows a cry from locals over a decline in fish catches as explained by Ali Ramadhan.

Ali says before the programme started in the fishing villages of wasini near the border with Tanzania they used to spend completely nights traversing the waters in search of fish but would even sometime return to the landing sites empty-handed.

He says “with the efforts to protect the marine ecosystem and thus coral reefs the future of the fishing communities looks better.”

Maimuna Abudi a fish seller in Wasini Island said before the reef restoration programme started fish stocks have been declining and fishing families were feeling the pressure.

She said in the past local fishermen complained of a catalogue of frequent arrests, harassment, and detention by the Tanzanian maritime authorities popularly known as “Mazingira police’ whenever they ventured out into the deep-sea.

CDA Managing Director Dr. Mohamed Keinan

Dr. Keinan says CDA is restoring the coral reefs through an innovation called ‘coral gardening’.

The innovation involves transplantation of coral reefs, tagging them before transplantation, tracking their growth through having their images at various stages, measuring their size and storing this data in a database among other activities.

“The programme which is already into its second year has been very successful to date and we intend to expand coral nursery cultivation and transplantation across degraded reefs outside Kwale,” said Dr. Keinan during an interview.

CDA’s innovation emerged top in the category of Most Promising Innovation during the 2019 Public Service Awards and Recognition Ceremony held on June 7 at the Kenya School of Government in Nairobi.

The recognition earned CDA opportunity to represent team Kenya in the 2019 Continental Africa Public Service Rewards and Recognition competition to be held on June 21st – 23rd at KICC Nairobi.

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