FAO workshop launching the Blue Growth Initiative and implementing an ecosystem approach to aquaculture in Kenya, Mombasa, Kenya, 27-31 July 2015.
The Blue Growth Initiative (BGI) is an FAO flagship initiative that aims at supporting more productive, responsible and sustainable fisheries and aquaculture sectors by improving the governance and management of the aquatic ecosystems, conservation of biodiversity and habitats, and empowering communities. Under the BGI umbrella, FAO, in collaboration with the Government of Kenya, is implementing two projects for the coast of Kenya. The objectives of these initiatives are to: (i) increase knowledge of water basin to coral reef ecosystem services supporting food, nutrition and livelihood security; (ii) identify the drivers of ecosystem services deterioration as well as the management options to improve them; and (iii) foster investment in coastal sustainable mariculture and promote its development under the ecosystem approach to aquaculture (EAA). This report describes the activities and outcomes of a workshop that took place in Mombasa, Kenya, from 27 to 31 July 2015. The objectives of the event were to: (i) launch the BGI in the country; and (ii) conduct a training session on the implementation of the EAA for the sustainable development of mariculture in Kenya by considering integration with other users of the coastal zones, such as tourism, fisheries and agriculture. The launching of the BGI had the active participation of high-level country authorities and wide representation of stakeholders involved in coastal zone and watershed activities, including representatives of the different coastal districts. The initiative was well received and created significant expectation and willingness to be involved as a move forward to sustainable use of aquatic resources with the support of the BGI. The second and third day of the weeklong workshop focused on a training module on the EAA, mixing lectures by the FAO technical team with extensive group "hands-on" work sessions and presentations. The subsequent parts of this report summarize the discussions following the implementation steps (scoping and identification of stakeholders, identification of issues, prioritization of issues using risk assessment, development of an EAA management plan, implementing the plan, monitoring and evaluation), followed by the development of the road map for implementing EAA in Kenya's aquaculture sector. The fifth day of the workshop was dedicated to training on conflict resolution and negotiation regarding use of space for aquaculture and other activities along the coastal zone. The four days of training activities were received with great interest and a high level of involvement. Participants especially enjoyed the hands-on experience of designing management plans for mariculture under the EAA for different coastal areas of Kenya. The experience and lessons learned can be applied to the mariculture strategy.