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Kenyan-Dutch co-operation in Marine Research-I, Partners in Science, 1992-1993
Kenya Marine and Fisheries Research Institute; Netherlands Marine Research Foundation (1992). Kenyan-Dutch co-operation in Marine Research-I, Partners in Science, 1992-1993. Kenya Marine and Fisheries Research Institute: Mombasa. 74 pp.

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  • Kenya Marine and Fisheries Research Institute
  • Netherlands Marine Research Foundation

    This document gives an outline of a partnership in marine science between Kenya and the Netherlands. It is a special part of the Dutch “Indian Ocean Programme” (IOP; 1990-1995). The central theme of the IOP is climatic change and its consequences. This theme fits in very well with a number of international research activities, such as the International Geosphere Biosphere Programme (JGOFS, LOICZ) and the World Climate Research Programme (TOGA,WOCE). The programme is also easily connected with on-going research in Kenya. It is a natural extension of the CEC-project “Study and management of Kenyan mangrove ecosystems”. The present programme is a partnership between the Kenyan Marine Fisheries and Research Institute (KMFRI) in Mombasa and The Netherlands Marine Research Foundation (SOZ) of The Netherlands Organisation for the Advancement of Scientific Research (NWO) in The Hague. In 1982 the Dutch government initiated a five year programme in marine science with the Indonesian government. The Snellius-ll Programme (1982-1987) was successful. The Snellius-ll approach, entailing transfer of knowledge and building infrastructure by the execution of a joint research effort, is internationally recognized as an effective management tool for sustainable development. The co-operation with Kenya is organized on the basis of this experience. Inadequate infrastructure in Kenya has hindered the development of marine science. To develop marine science, funding for large scale marine projects and co-operation between Kenya and developed countries is needed. This report gives details of the first phase (1992 - 1993) of a seven year partnership. The philosophy of this endeavour is to sustain development through the execution of a joint research programme. The central theme of the present programme is “the study of the effects of the monsoonal regime on coastal marine systems”. It consists of two main projects. One is based on board the Dutch research vessel ‘Tyro’ and will investigate processes on the Kenyan shelf and coastal ecosystems. The other is land-based near Mombasa and investigates coastal processes and pollution in the Kenyan coastal environment. Implementation of the seven year programme should allow Kenya to develop its present marine science capability in such a way that it can successfully act as the regional centre, as proposed in UNEP’s Eastern African Action Plan. The Kenyan coast is an area of great physical beauty and rich in living resources. Palm beaches, clear turquoise waters and the colourful marine life of the coral reefs now attract about one million tourists yearly. Yet there are problems: local pollution, habitat destruction, tourism and the pressure of the growing population. Dams constructed or planned in the Tana river will affect the estuarine productivity in the estuarine and coastal area. Soil erosion as a result of deforestation and environment tally destructive agricultural practices inland, is effecting catches of fin fish and prawns in Ungwana (Tana river) and threatening the reefs around Malindi (Galana - Sabaki river). Mangroves are extensively cut for poles, firewood and charcoal. They are also effected by siltation and, due to upstream hydraulic works, by fluctuations in the amount of fresh water and sediment reaching them. Loss of the extent and vitality of mangrove forests may reduce marine biological productivity. Sustainable use of the Kenyan coastal marine environment and its resources requires the development of management plans and the monitoring of pollutants. However, the basic knowledge for this is lacking. So far, nothing is known about the effect of the seasonally reversing monsoons and the linked unique reversal of the oceanic circulation on the marine ecosystems of the Kenyan coast. The interaction between the off-shore and coastal areas and the impact of the monsoons on this interaction is being studied in this partnership. Both the marine fauna and flora of the area and the physical, chemical and biological processes within it will be investigated. Despite the presence of several marine parks and reserves research on coral reefs is still fragmentary. The presence of an ocean going research vessel gives a unique opportunity to study remote and poorly known areas. There is no information on the benthic ecosystems beyond the reefs and also with respect to the pelagic domain only little information is available. Moreover, the sedimentology of the Kenyan coastal zone is unknown. Within this partnership in marine science Kenyan and Dutch scientists will be studying these as yet unknown areas. The activities described here will increase the basic know-how of the productivity of the Kenyan coastal marine environment, will give insight in the effects of inland erosion, siltation, inorganic and organic pollutants etc. and will assist KMFRI in its development towards a regional marine centre. The two projects of the first phase of the Kenyan-Dutch partnership are being financed by the SOZ. The cost is about DFL 2.0 million. Within a research cruise of two months the Tyro will be made available exclusively to our Kenyan partners for a four day research and training effort. The programme for this exercise was developed by KMFRI. For the execution of the second phase funding outside the currently operating budgets of the partner countries has to be found. The programme for this phase will be formulated during the execution of phase one.

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