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  • Director KMFRI Prof. James Njiru (right) with Deputy Director Freshwater System, Dr. Christopher Aura (centre) and Ag. ADF, Kenya Fisheries Services, Mr. Simon Munguti (left) during the Launch of Electronic Catch Assessment Survey (e-CAS) system and Stake Holder’s Engagement and dissemination Workshop on Environmental Clean-up and Mentorship Framework at Sosa Cottages in Vihiga County on 4 - 5th Jan, 2021
  • Director KMFRI, Prof. James Njiru (seated, 3rd left), ECOFISH representative Mr. Kundu (seated, far right) and Inland Director of Kenya Fisheries Services Dr. Wamalwa (seated, 2nd left) with participants during the planning meeting for the Lake Victoria Frame Survey 2020 on 30th November, 2020 in Ahero, Kisumu County
  • Dr. Edward Kimani giving his presentation when ARCH Emerging Markets with Partners from IDC - Industrial Development Corporation from South Africa visited KMFRI on 12th November, 2020, the engagement revolved around an overview of the blue economy, KMFRI’s role in the blue economy initiatives, and KMFRI’s continued engagement/support in ARCH’s Cold Chain Sector investment in Mombasa
  • KMFRI team led by Dr. Christopher Aura Ag. Deputy Director Freshwater Systems (seated left) joined by the IFAD-ABDP's National Programme Co-ordinator, Mr. Sammy Macaria (seated right) on 29th September to 2nd October, 2020 for report writing workshop on the potential carrying capacity of fisheries production for small water bodies.
  • Director KMFRI Prof. James Njiru (left) with KARLO Institute Director, Dr. Theresia Munga had consultations on the development of KMFRI land in Mtwapa, Kilifi County on 30th September, 2020
  • Principal Secretary, University Education and Research, Amb. Simon Nabukwesi (centre) with CEO of National Research Fund (NRF) and KMFRI Director Prof. James Njiru (left) during a tour of KMFRI cage culture at Kibokoni, Kilifi County, a project funded by NRF on 24th September 2020
  • KMFRI Director Prof. James Njiru, gives a press briefing during the Kenya Climate-Smart Agriculture Project (KCSAP) at KARLO, Naivasha. Prof. Njiru underscored the need for aquaculture farming saying that it is the only way that a country could meet the fish demand in the country as opposed to relying on capture fisheries.
  • KMFRI Director Prof. James Njiru (4th right) accompanied by Mr. Abraham Kagwima (3rd right) and Dr. Dr Peter Odote (far left) visited KEFRI Enterprises on 11th August 2020 to learn how their successful business wing works. The model is being adopted by KMFRI Enterprise.
  • Inception and sensitization meeting: The project implementation team is led by KMFRI with research scientists Dr. Kevin Obiero (left), Dr. Domitila Kyule, Ms. Fonda Jane Awuor and Esther Wairimu.

Funded by WIOMSA through the MASMA Programme, the project is collaborating with research and academic institutions in Kenya, Tanzania and Sweden to study fish production in seagrass habitats while building capacity of young scientists

By Dr. Melckzedeck K. Osore and Dr. James M. Mwaluma


KMFRI technologist affiliated to FLAPSEA Ms Mary Mkonu (L) and an intern Mr. Robinson Okumu sampling for phytoplankton at Blue Bay in Kilifi County

The Project - Larval Fish Production and Dispersal in Critical Habitats of Coastal East Africa (FLAPSEA) commenced in March, 2019, with the inaugural meeting held in Kilifi, Kenya.  FLAPSEA is implemented by researchers from KMFRI, Institute of Marine Sciences of University of Dar-es-Salaam (IMS/UDSM) and Stockholm University (SU). During the meeting, Project representatives coined the acronym FLAPSEA and mapped out strategies for achieving the overall goal effectively and timely.

Emerging results since project inauguration cover research conducted in 2019 during June, July, August, October, November and December. FLAPSEA identified sensitive seagrass habitats located at Watamu and Diani in Kenya, and Tanga in Tanzania where sampling has been underway in sites demarcated as either pristine or degraded. Useful data and information has been collected that support the need to protect seagrass habitats in the study areas. More analyses are underway to determine the productivity of healthy seagrass habitats and to estimate the socio-economic costs of their loss to fisheries production and implication to community livelihoods.

Monthly variation in plankton abundance notably the fish eggs is apparent, with little difference between the pristine and degraded sites. Phytoplankton and zooplankton encountered reflect common genera expected in coastal waters of Watamu, Diani and Tana. Peak abundance of fish eggs observed in June at pristine seagrass areas is indicative of preferred habitats for fish spawning, possibly with series of spawning events. Spawning is synchronised with the Southeast Monsoon (SEM) season and peak of primary productivity as indicated by elevated concentration of Chlorophyll a. This could be strategic to ensure that hatched larvae have a higher chance of survival through food availability. A clearer seasonal pattern is expected after sampling and analysing samples collected during the Northeast Monsoon (NEM) season – these are currently being analysed.

Fish larvae species associated with seagrass areas in Kenya and Tanzania were Leptoscrus vaigiensis and Siganus sutor - in line with what was expected in the project objectives, and therefore justification for selecting this Family for planned genetics studies. Genetics work will be spearheaded by the team from Stockholm University.

FLAPSEA has established research collaboration with two other MASMA funded projects based at KMFRI namely Seagrass Protect and MICROMARE, as well as SOLSTICE Project affiliated to WIOMSA. Collaborative activities with Seagrass Protect planned for 2020 will involve data sharing and joint field work to map seagrass habitats. FLAPSEA will share with MICROMARE Project expertise in taxonomy and modelling. SOLSTICE Project will collaborate in sharing regional oceanographic data.

Capacity building is a key activity undertaken in the initial year. Eight students, four females and four males, have registered for postgraduate degrees addressing research questions related to FLAPSEA objectives. Four PhD students and one Msc are registered at Stockholm University, two for Msc at Dar-es-Salaam University and one for Msc at Pwani University. 

FLAPSEA has set up a project website hosted at KMFRI and will be mirrored at IMS, Zanzibar. The website shows the project activities, meetings and conferences attended by researchers and students. It also archives images of fieldwork and laboratory activities conducted in Kenya, Tanzania and Sweden.

FLAPSEA Project Team

Kenya (KMFRI): Dr. James Mwaluma, Dr. Melckzedeck Osore, Dr. Jacob Ochiewo, Mr. Stephen Mwangi, Ms Lilian Daudi, Mr. Charles Muthama, Mr. Noah Ngisiang’e, Mr. Oliver Agolla, Mr. Jibril Olunga, Ms. Mary Mkonu, Mr. Joseph Kilonzo, Mr. Samuel Ndirangu, Mr. Alex Fulanda, Ms Faith Gwada, Ms Alphine Mbodze, Mr. Robinson Okumu.

Tanzania (ISM/UDSM): Dr. Margareth Kyewalyanga, Dr. Mwanahija Shalli, Mr. Barnabas Tarimo, Mr. George Rushingisha, Mr. Fadhili Mustapha, Ms Hellen Kizenga, Mr. Rashid Ismail, Mr. Fadili Malesa.

Sweden (SU): Prof. Moniker Winder, Ms. Vivien Holub.

Fisherman at Mvuleni Beach, Diani, Kwale County arrives from the sea with his catch of the day

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