Kisite-Mpunguti Marine Park and Reserve receives the Blue Park award

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Kisite-Mpunguti Marine Park and Reserve make history as Kenya’s first blue park to be recognized by the Marine Conservation Institute with a Gold Level Blue Park Award for achieving the highest scientific standards in the field. protection and management of marine life.

The Blue Park Award recognizes the outstanding efforts of nations, MPA [marine protected area] managers and members of the local community to effectively protect marine ecosystems today and in the future.

The prize elevates these amazing places and their vibrant marine life.

It also aims to motivate other nations to strive for strong and effective MPAs that conserve marine life.

Bottlenose dolphin at Kisite Mpunguti reserve Photo by Versatile Photography

Blue Park Awards support international progress towards Aichi Target 11 of the Convention on Biological Diversity, United Nations Sustainable Development Goal 14 and the longer-term goal of protecting 30% of the ocean by 2030.

Kisite-Mpunguti, managed by the Kenya Wildlife Service (KWS), joins a growing network of 21 Blue Parks around the world designed to protect and regenerate the biodiversity of our oceans.

Paul Wambi, Kisite-Mpunguti park ranger, celebrated the news of the award by thanking all the dedicated staff, local communities and partners for making Kisite-Mpunguti a beacon of hope for marine conservation.

“This award only motivates us to work even harder to make Kisite-Mpunguti a sustainable MPA that benefits both nature and humanity,” he said.

Kisite Mpunguti includes around 250 recorded fish species

For his part, Dr Lance Morgan, president of the Marine Conservation Institute, said they were delighted to see the new designations of Blue Park accelerating the protection of the most important places in the oceans.

“Kisite-Mpunguti is a perfect example of an important and biodiversity-rich place to protect while providing food for local communities. This is the first Blue Park award in Kenya which has a coastal area that supports such important marine biodiversity, ”she said.

Founded by the Kenyan government in 1978, Kisite-Mpunguti combines two contiguous areas that surround two neighboring islands in the Indian Ocean off the coast of Kenya.

One, Kisite National Marine Park, is 28 km away2 and the second, the Mpunguti National Marine Reserve, is 11 km2.

Kisite is a fully protected and harvest-free area while Mpunguti allows artisanal and recreational fishing for local fishermen. Both areas accommodate snorkelling, diving and wildlife viewing.

A tourist ready to dive into the waters of the Kisite Mpunguti reserve

Kisite-Mpunguti protects a number of distinctive ecosystems in the region: mangroves, seagrass beds and coral reefs.

This diverse area is home to the rich biodiversity of marine mammals, fish, seabirds and sea turtles.

Kisite Island is recognized as an Important Bird Area by Birdlife International as it provides an important and remote breeding area.

Species of marine mammals found in these waters include dugongs, whale sharks, and sperm whales, all of which are considered vulnerable or endangered species.

Five vulnerable, endangered and critically endangered sea turtle species also feed and breed in the park.

Kisite Island is an Important Bird Area (IBA).

In addition to the award, Dr Sarah Hameed, Senior Scientist and Director of the Blue Parks Initiative, said she looks forward to working with KWS and partners to share the story of this amazing new Blue Park and how it serves its local communities and visitors.

“We hope that Kisite-Mpunguti will become an MPA that others in East Africa can learn from, because it truly protects this unique place,” she added.

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