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WIOMSA ScienceNews: Upwelling and the influx of freshwater increase fisheries productivity

WIOMSA ScienceNews: Upwelling and the influx of freshwater increase fisheries productivity

A study of primary productivity in Kenya’s territorial waters has demonstrated that upwelling is associated with high fisheries output.

Scientists from ten institutions in Kenya, South Africa, Tanzania, the United Kingdom and the United States of America collaborated in the Productivity in the East African Coastal Current under Climate Change (PEACC) project that produced the research findings. Funding for the project came from WIOMSA and the Intergovernmental Oceanographic Commission of UNESCO.

The study’s objective was to investigate the responses of biological productivity and fisheries to changes in atmospheric and oceanographic conditions in the upwelling region associated with the East African Coastal Current, with a focus on two case study sites: Tanzania’s Pemba Channel and Kenya’s North Kenya Bank.

Joseph Kamau, a senior research scientist at the Kenya Marine and Fisheries Research Institute (KMFRI), is the lead author of two papers that present the results of the study.  The first paper “Factors influencing spatial patterns in primary productivity in Kenyan territorial waters” presents an overview of the relationship between levels of primary productivity and the biomass of pelagic fish.  The second one “Employing multivariate analysis to determine the drivers of productivity on the North Kenya Bank and in Kenyan territorial waters”presents an analsyis of the oceanographic and biological, geological and chemical parameters and processes that influence productivity.

“Our goal was to gain an understanding of what is happening in our territorial waters and what is driving the productivity within these systems,” explains Kamau.

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