Mangroves of the Western Indian Ocean Book Launch
by Wanjiru Jacqueline and Nina Wambiji
It was an honour for Kenya Marine and Fisheries Research Institute (KMFRI) to host the first book launch entitled ‘Mangroves of the Western Indian Ocean: Status and Management’ on 22nd September 2016. The event was spearheaded by Dr. Jared Bosire (WWF and also the Head Editor) and Dr. James .G. Kairo (KMFRI). The launch was graced by different stakeholders amongst them World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF), State Department of Fisheries and the Blue Economy (SDF & BE), Kenya Forest Research Institute (KEFRI), National Environment Management Authority (NEMA), Kenya Wildlife Service (KWS), Base Titanium, Coastal & Marine Resource Development (COMRED Africa), Community Action for Nature Conservation (CANCO), Coastal Oceans Research and Development Indian Ocean (CORDIO-EA) and KMFRI.
In attendance was the president WIOMSA and KCDP Project Manager Dr. Jacqueline Uku who was impressed by the Mangrove team and urged the other researchers to come up with write ups on coral reefs, sea-grass among others. She highlighted how WIOMSA as fraternity disbursed knowledge to many stakeholders, how different grants especially book grants were to be sourced by stakeholders so that they would package their work and disseminate it. She said ‘Books survive us, books live beyond us’. She was happy to note that KCDP had supported the development of the Kenyan Mangrove Management plan and this book ties in with that effort. She further reminded participants that WIOMSA celebrates partnerships.
WWF Regional Director, Dr. Awer was also present and was impressed by what KCDP has achieved not only through sensitizing the communities at the Coast but also the resources it has created at KMFRI like the ‘Ocean Centre Building’ which has the state of the art facilities. Dr. Awer mentioned that the book should have a positive impact to the world as it was the kind of legacy mankind should leave and that researchers should use it widely as a reference. He encouraged all participants that Kenya had unparalleled capacity and we need to use it to solve our problems. All the knowledge acquired through school and experience at work needs to be translated to solutions.
Dr. Edward Kimani, the Assistant Director Fisheries at KMFRI talked about RV Mtafiti as a platform that all stakeholders would use to answer some of the unknown in the Western Indian Ocean especially the Kenyan Economic Exclusive Zone. He also noted that aquaculture was the fastest growing sector and resources need to be channelled towards the two.
The key speaker during the event; Dr. Bosire (Conservation Director- WWF Kenya Office), insisted that development was very vital to our Country and everyone has a role in ensuring sustainability in the various upcoming projects. He urged members to participate with the Country Government by transferring skills especially in issues such as spatial planning. The book on Mangroves of the Western Indian Ocean was the first and that one of its main goals was to support capacity building among the communities. He requested the researchers to get copies.
KMFRI Director, Prof. James Njiru said that the book was remarkable in that Mangroves on the Ecosystem was very critical especially to the Blue Economy. He urged the researchers to work as a team and produce books which can be used as reference and equally impress the policy makers. The Directors words echoed a quote by Joyce Carol Oates, ‘The first sentence can’t be written until the final sentence is written’.
Lastly, all the invited guests witnessed the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) between KMFRI and WWF championed by Mr. Patrick Gwada to strengthen their working relations in areas of mutual interest and for the development of both Organisations. All the Organisations that had attended the launch were each awarded with an autographed book by Dr. Bosire.