The Faculty of Science and Technology held a webinar on blue economy on Thursday 19th May 2022. The theme for the webinar was ‘Covid-19 Pandemic and the Blue Economy’: Challenges and Prospects for Recovery and Resilience.
The guest speaker was Sarah Kinyanjui the Director Mombasa Campus who represented the Vice Chancellor Prof. Kiama. She noted COVID 19 has had devastating effects on the health systems and the economy of most countries in the world including loss of businesses, employment, production and livelihood especially the most vulnerable in the society.
Covid19 also heavily affected the blue economy sector like fishing, travel, tourism, maritime, fisheries and seafood production
The speaker also noted that Ocean-based renewable energy could help meet the growing global energy demand while reducing the use of and dependency on fossil fuels and, in turn, global greenhouse gas emissions
Understanding paleoclimate will help in projecting likely future scenarios to enable the country to be prepared in terms of mitigation of climate change impacts and /or disease pandemics
Dr. Melckzedeck Osoro - Senior Research Scientist, Kenya Marine and Fisheries Research Institute (KMFRI) spoke on ‘The Contributions of the Local Coastal Communities to Kenya’s Blue through Seaweed Farming in Kwale County’. He noted since 2010 when seaweed farming started in Kibuyuni, has addressed Sustainable Development Goals (SDG’s) number 1 on ending poverty, number 5 on gender equality and number 14 on life under water. Dr. Osoro noted seaweed farming has now gone beyond being a community project it is now addressed globally. Some of the beneficiaries of seaweed farming include women groups, county governments, academic institutions, hotels and tourists
Covid19 affected seaweed farming in many ways like reduced farming time because of the curfew hours, high transport costs and reduced tourists, curtailment of movement, social distance and limited research visits
Prof Linus Hammar, Program Manager, Swedish Agency for Marine and Water Management spoke on Ecosystem based Marine Spatial Planning; Enabling the Blue Economy.
He noted for blue economy to succeed there needs to be enablers put in place which include; coherent and predictable legal framework to form the basis on which to build the local blue growth; integration with well-functioning value chains is important for advancing the local blue economy; good governance enables local blue growth it signals the existence of functioning institutions; strategic barriers can help to remove barriers and pave way for local blue growth, and innovation is an important element for improving technologies and processes in the local blue economy
Dr. Marie-Alexandrine- Research Director, CNRS Laboratory of Oceanography and Climate, Experiments and numerical Approaches (LOCEAN) gave a presentation on ‘Organic biomarkers: a tool to explore past climate & environmental changes’. Biomarkers are organic compounds originating from living organisms and can be used in environmental and climatic reconstructions. Biomarkers are also useful tools for understanding the nature and extent of human exposure and risk from environmental toxicants
The biomarkers traces for environmental and climatic processes in soil, which then allows scientists to reconstruct past environmental conditions and understand human impacts on the environment,
The interactive webinar was well attended by over 60 participants both staff, students and guests from Kenya and beyond.