Kenya Reverts To The Ban On Harmful Fishing Gear

In contrast to its previous position, which backed an immediate ban on industrial-scale gear that pollutes marine habitats and is blamed for dwindling tuna fish stocks through overfishing of juveniles, Kenya is now asking for a delay on the ban on harmful fishing gear in the oceans.

Nairobi wants discussions on a replacement even if it claims it supports a ban on non-biodegradable equipment. December was the planned start date for the ban.

“I hereby direct that the position submitted by Kenya on the issue DFADs management be withdrawn for the time being to allow for further consultations with other Indian Ocean Tuna Commission (IOTC) member countries, scientific research communities, stakeholders, and local affected communities,” said Salim Mvurya, Kenya’s cabinet secretary for mining. “In the spirit of harmony and to make it easier to reach a consensus on drifting fish aggregating devices (DFADs) management,” he added.

The 30-member IOTC, which had lobbied for the ban to safeguard local fishing communities, took a hit as a result of Kenya’s action.

Mvurya discussed a number of ideas during the IOTC technical committee’s 11th meeting in Mombasa, including reducing synthetic marine pollution and using natural or biodegradable materials to create new gear.

The new resolution, according to Frédéric Le Manach, scientific head of the French ocean conservation organization Bloom, will allow space for big-eye and yellowfin tuna populations to repopulate. The extension of the usage of synthetic materials in the Indian Ocean has been pushed by DFAD-using nations.

The introduction of entirely biodegradable DFADs and a reduction in the number from the present cap of 300 to 150 have been suggested by IOTC as ways to lessen marine trash. In the Indian Ocean, fish are taken on a yearly basis in excess of 200,000 metric tonnes.


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