Lodwar, 22nd January 2021 (Governor’s Press Service)— The National and County Government will partner to come up with a management plan to guide joint management of Lake Turkana.
In a meeting with officials from the Kenya Maritime Authority (KMA) led by Director General Robert Njue and the Chairman of the Board of Directors Geoffrey Mwango, Governor Josphat Nanok said a management plan which puts into consideration the responsibility of all stakeholders in the management of the lake will be an important tool to spur the blue economy.
The Governor said the plan will also be used to support resource mobilization to develop the lake and revealed that this was a requirement by most potential development partners. He agreed that the National Government to take lead with KMA as a mandated agency with the oversight of the Kenyan maritime industry.
On safety and security within the Lake, Governor Nanok called for assessments and research to be conducted to determine the depth of the lake which will advise suitability of transport vessels. He urged the National Government to establish landing bays for fishing boats and other existing small boats, with the County Government prevented from developing the infrastructure as it is a National Government mandate.
The County boss insisted that the Lakes resource was largely untapped, as a tourist attraction with the three national parks within the Lake- Sibiloi, Central Island and South Island; as well as potential for water transport between Turkana and Marsabit counties.
The Director General revealed that the Agency was working with the Kenya Coast Guard to set up bases next to the Lake, with the Coast Guards expected to boost security and enforce other maritime laws. He agreed with the Governor on the need to develop a management plan, and promised to immediately begin a process for its drafting. He said the plan will spell out how the lake will be utilized. He also promised to engage with the National Department of Public Works for the construction of jetties for boats to dock along the lake.
Mr. Njue informed the Governor that the Kenya Marine Research Institute will support to provide research answers needed on the depth of the lake and other issues of interest in the development of the lake. On his part, Mr. Mwango announced that KMA had partnered with the Higher Education Loans Board (HELB) to support trainees pursuing maritime courses. He said students in Turkana should take advantage of the support meant to develop skills key in the development of blue economy.
County Secretary Peter Eripete hailed the partnership with KMA and expressed hope that territorial conflicts between fisher-folk of Kenya and Ethiopia should be addressed to fully harness the Lake’s resources. County Executive for Agriculture, Pastoral Economy and Fisheries Philip Aemun said Turkana County had pushed for inclusion of Lake Turkana in the National Government Development Plan and commended the idea for a joint coordination plan between agencies and departments of the two tiers of government.
Present in the meeting was County Executive for Tourism, Culture and Natural Resources George Emojong, Chief Officer for Livestock, Fisheries and Veterinary Services Yusuf Abdullahi, Chief of Staff Ekuwam Nakiporo, Advisor for Gender, Partnerships and Children Affairs Phoebe Kaaman; and Deputy Directors Hellen Nakaru (Tourism) and David Namwaya (Fisheries).