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Kenya Marine and Fisheries Research Institute

KMFRI was established to conduct research on aquatic systems covering both marine and freshwater. The Institute has grown from staff strength of two Research Scientists at inception to the current 122 scientists. KMFRI’s approved staff establishment stands at 1,350 employees but the current staffing position is 839 for both research and support staff which creates a gap of 511 employees. The current staffing levels are way below the required staff to meet the expected increasing demand for research. During the period 2016-2020, it is proposed that KMFRI be strengthened and reorganized with a view to improving service delivery. KMFRI infrastructure capacity has also expanded from two research stations based in Mombasa and Kisumu with acquisition of seven additional stations.

KMFRI headquarters is based in Mombasa, with eight (8) other stations at Kisumu, Turkana, Baringo, Naivasha, Sagana, Kegati, Sangoro and Nairobi. The Institute has two Research Centres based in Mombasa and Kisumu. The Mombasa Centre coordinates Ocean and Coastal Systems Research in the coastal hinterlands, the territorial waters and the Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ) in the Indian Ocean. As a maritime state, Kenya has proclaimed the 200 nautical miles (nm) EEZ as provided for by UNCLOS and has an ocean area of about 142,000 km2 as per the 200 nm EEZ limit. Kenya has further applied for an extra 150 nm EEZ extension for exploitation of bottom ocean bed resources. This makes a total ocean area of 245,000 km2 which is 42% of her total land area making Kenya a significant maritime state.

The Kisumu Centre coordinates research on Lake Victoria and the other inland water bodies through three stations at Lake Baringo, Lake Turkana and Lake Naivasha, while Sagana Aquaculture Research and Development station coordinates Kegati and Sangoro stations. In addition, a number of field stations exist at Gazi, Lamu, Shimoni and Gogo. This chapter highlights KMFRI’s current organization structure, research programmes and support departments and its role on national development..

KMFRI is managed by a Board of Management appointed by the Cabinet Secretary, for Agriculture, Livestock and Fisheries. The Board has a gazetted Chairman and the Institute Director is the Secretary. Administratively, the Director is the Chief Executive Officer, assisted by three Deputy Directors, one in charge of Ocean and Coastal Systems Directorate, the other responsible for Freshwater Systems Directorate and the third in-charge of Finance and Administration Directorate. Aquaculture Directorate is currently headed by a Senior Assistant Director. Each Deputy Director is assisted by Assistant Directors in the respective departments. The Research Stations at Turkana, Naivasha, Baringo, Sagana, Kegati, and Sangoro are headed by Station Coordinators.

KMFRI has adopted a multidisciplinary approach in research which is internationally recognised and has been a major strength especially in attracting research funding from development partners. KMFRI’s Research activities are organized into three directorates namely; Ocean and Coastal Systems (OCS), Freshwater Systems (FWS), Aquaculture Research and Development (ARD), and a sub-directorate on Socioeconomics (SE). The OCS has two departments; marine and coastal fisheries, and oceanography and hydrography, the FWS has two departments; inland fisheries and limnology, ARD has two departments; freshwater aquaculture and mariculture, while SE is cross-cutting. Each research directorate also has technical support services which are organized in to three departments namely laboratory, maritime and information and communication technology. The finance and administration directorate is organized two departments; finance and human resource and administration. Furthermore, there are other support services such as supply chain management, corporate affairs, planning and audit.


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Fishermen weigh a basket full of fish off the Indian ocean’s archipelago of Lamu on Kenya’s coast. Tony Karumba/AFP via Getty Images

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