26 April 2006

Kenya: Rare Fish Species Goes On Exhibition in Malindi

Nairobi — A rare type of fish species, which was caught off the Malindi coast in 2001, was last weekend exhibited at the seaside resort town.

The exhibition of the fossil fish (coelacanth) drew a huge crowd, including National Heritage minister Mr Suleiman Shakombo and Belgium ambassador to Kenya Ms Christina Funes Noppen.

Other dignitaries who attended the launch of the exhibition of the fish included Regional Museums sites and monuments director, Mr Mzalendo Kabunjia and director-general, Dr Idleh Farah.

Coelacanths had been presumed extinct until it was discovered in South Africa in 1938.

The fish weighing 77 kilogrammes and 1.7 metres long is navy blue in colour with white markings.

Kenya's catch in 2001 was the third in the world since the South African one.

The minister said the exhibition of the rare catch would help in revamping the tourism industry in Malindi.

"With proper marketing overseas, the coelacanths fish could attract lots of holiday makers in Malindi town.

"Even Kenyans in various parts of the country would be attracted here to see the peculiar fish which was previously thought as extinct," added Shakombo.

He challenged local researchers and scientists to carry out more studies on the local territorial waters to come up with new discoveries.

The minister said there was need for scientists to conduct studies on endangered fish species to save them from extinction.

He called on fishermen on the coastline to work with relevant government departments in conserving endangered sea creatures such as sea turtles.

"Fishermen and all concerned parties must conserve the endangered sea creatures for the future.

"Sea fisheries are a resource employing many Kenyans at the Coast. Big fish such as shark, blue marlin and others attract anglers from all corners of the world to Malindi and Kilifi for big game fishing competitions," Shakombo said.

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