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Belgium has donated a research vessel to the Kenya Marine and Fisheries Research Institute (KMFRI)
The RV Mtafiti is at the port of Mombasa and is expected to be used in marine studies
Belgium has donated a research vessel to the Kenya Marine and Fisheries Research Institute (KMFRI) and is expected to step up the search for food security and job creation for millions of people living a long the Indian Ocean.
The donation is part of a long-standing co-operation between the Flanders Marine Institute (VLIZ) and the Kenyan agency that started in 1985.
The RV Mtafiti has docked at the port of Mombasa and is expected to be used in marine studies for the benefit of the entire east African region. It will bolster training of scientists, officials said.
Through the deals, Kenyans have benefited from Master’s and PhD degrees tenable in Belgium, said the KMFRI director, Dr Johnson Kazungu.
“Through the linkages, some Kenyans have attained postgraduate qualifications like Master’s and PhD in Belgium and several Belgian students and professors have also visited Kenya to undertake joint research with Kenyan counterparts,” he said.
The ship took 50 days to dock and covered 7,000km to its final destination, said Dr Kazungu. VLIZ will support scientific operations that include delivering and installing equipment on board and training of staff and students.
Dr Kazungu said the beneficiaries of the co-operation were working in various sectors of the economy, including the academia, locally and internationally.
Dr Kazungu said the oceanographic research vessel will enable Kenya to survey its entire exclusive economic zone up to 200 sea miles from the Coast in the Western Indian Ocean.
He said the operation of the vessel will allow the KMFRI to pursue ocean and fisheries policies.
“This policy vision explicitly refers to the fishing research, a healthy environment and the role that science, technology and information can play,” said the official, who added the research would facilitate sustainable management of marine resources.
The donation, said the institute’s public relations officer, Morris Mukaraku, would stimulate the national strategy for food safety, poverty reduction and employment creation, key themes of other national policy documents. “RV Mtafiti will be used in a broader regional context,” he said.
In East Africa, Mr Mukaraku said, about 55 million people depend on the coast and heightened research would raise food security and improve safety thanks to better fishing that is threatened by climate changes and over exploitation.
– Business Daily