National Marine Ecosystem Diagnostic Analysis (MEDA) - Kenya

United Nations Development Programme (2012)

Kenya has the some of the oldest marine protected areas in the WIO Region. There are 4 marine parks and 5 marine national reserves. The total area of the parks is estimated at 54 km2, while that of reserves is 898 km2 representing approximately 8.7% of the Kenyan territorial waters. In addition, there are a number of community protected areas located in Wasini, Kuruwitu, Bureni, Trade-Winds, Kibuyuni and Kiweni. However, conflicts have been observed in these protected areas particularly where local fishing communities harbour negative attitudes towards establishing new government managed MPAs, creating an impediment to government commitment to increase MPA coverage. Local resource users are still concerned about being denied access and control over the resources in marine parks and reserves. Environmental degradation and over-exploitation of natural resources are challenges that Kenya is facing with regard to the management of coastal and marine environment. In the small-scale fishery, the use of destructive fishing techniques, poverty and rapid population growth all continue to strain resources on the coast. Also, lack of capacity for effective management and enforcement of regulations is constraining sustainable management of the coastal region. There are however strengths and opportunities that can be utilized to promote sustainable management and development in Kenya’s coastal region. There are a number of opportunities that have the potential to generate alternative forms of employment, which could potentially reduce the strain being placed on coastal ecosystems. Creating alternative streams of income could reduce pressure on the marine ecosystems and counter the cyclical relationship between poverty and natural resource exploitation.

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