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Billfish in coastal visual art in Kenya: a resource for ocean science communication

Susana W. Kihia
Jacqueline Uku
Sarah Ater
Moses Kioko
Nelly I. Kadagi
Nina Wambiji


Approaches to marine conservation and management issues has often been limited to using scientific research to propose technical and policy interventions. However, communicating outputs as scientific publications and policy briefs has limited reach and impact for non-academic audiences. Art markets in Mombasa and Kilifi Counties in Kenya were sampled to determine how the creative arts can be used to communicate ocean science. Artwork with terrestrial themes was popular and increasingly available to buyers compared to ocean art. Billfish as a representative species was popular in ocean art culture, underscoring its potential in a niche market for ocean art. Our study highlights opportunities for active collaboration between scientists and artists in communicating messages from scientific work to non-academic audiences. Engagement of Western Indian Ocean countries in the UN Decade of Ocean Science for Sustainable Development will benefit from the use of ocean art in science communication and enhance ocean literacy in the region.

Journal Identifiers

eISSN: 2683-6416
print ISSN: 0856-860X