Kenya Fishing Industries Corporation (KIFC), is a state corporation established under the Legal Notice No. 214 of the State Corporation Act (Kenya Fishing Industries Corporation Order, 2018).
Kenya fisheries are predominantly artisanal but with big potential in the offshore and the Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ) which remains largely unexploited. At present most exploitation is by artisanal and semi – industrial inshore fisheries, the fishermen lack the capacity in terms of skills and the appropriate fishing vessels that can venture into the offshore/deep sea fishery. The country’s offshore waters have been exploited over the years by distant water fishing vessels from Europe and Asia, visiting the region to fish for tunas and billfishes. Recently in efforts to build local fishing fleet a number of fishing vessels have arrived on mainly joint ventures but still we have a long way to go to achieve maximum utilization of our waters.
The fisheries resources abundant in Kenya Indian ocean waters currently are underutilized in comparison to island nations of Seychelles, Mauritius, Madagascar and West African countries such as Ghana and Abidjan which have highly developed tuna industries. Côte d’Ivoire controls 65% of the Africa tuna trade from Atlantic Sea, Ghana 32% and Senegal 3%. On the Indian Ocean Seychelles has 57% of tuna trade, Mauritius 34%, Madagascar 8% and others where Kenya belongs 1%. Kenya lies on the tuna belt and with EU market assured through long terms policy between Africa and Europe (Lomé accords, ACP preference, now Economic Partnership Agreement = EPA), canned tuna and loins are imported without duties to the EU market. The Kenya Fishing Industries Corporation when fully grounded will take the country to a similar direction and it is expected to create a lot jobs and huge foreign exchange from the fish processing plants and other accessory activities anticipated.
Fish and fishery products represent one of the most-traded segments of the world food sector, with about 78 percent of seafood products estimated to be exposed to international trade.
Kenyan fish and fishery products for export have been declining while the imports have been increasing over the last 10 years. It is against this background that the Kenya Fishing Industries Corporation (KFIC) was established under the Ministry of Agriculture, Livestock and Fisheries by the President H.E. Uhuru Kenyatta under the State Corporations Act, 2018 (Legal Notice No. 214) of 2018 to provide strategic leadership and direction in the exploitation of fish and fish products; marine resources and products including aquatic plants in the Country.
This effort is intended to revamp the fisheries industry and revolutionize Kenya deep sea fisheries under the Blue Economy Initiative.