The ongoing cold weather and rainy season has led to a drop in fish production at Lake Naivasha with the common carp species being the most affected.
However tilapia catch which a couple of years back faced extinction at the fresh water lake has increased tremendously to the joy of consumers and hundreds of fisher-folk who rely on the lake for a livelihood.
The Director of Fisheries in Nakuru County, Mathew Ngila however, described the drop as normal, adding that the cold weather has always led to a drop in the fish catch due to poor breeding.
He further said that the county government was planning to conduct a clean-up exercise of the lake to pave way for restocking of up to 50,000 fingerlings as part of boosting fish production at the lake.
Ngila disclosed that the county government had set apart Shs.0.5m for the restocking exercise, a move he added will be done annually to help safeguard the livelihoods of thousands of Kenyans who directly or indirectly rely on the water resource.
The Chairman of Naivasha Boat Owners Association, David Kilo said the common carp fish species hibernates during the cold season to reproduce, adding that in the next two months the species production was expected to dominate the catch as the weather will be warmer.
Kilo also pointed to over-fishing as one of the major threats to fish production in the area where illegal fishermen are said to fish indiscriminately using illegal fishing gadgets.
“The number of illegal fishermen is on the rise and they are operating along the shorelines hence interfering with the breeding zones,” he said.
According to one of the Boat operators, Joel Opiyo, who operates from Karagita landing beach, the common carp fish production usually goes down during cold season adding that one boat would record over 200kgs of common carp per day in the past with the production being a mere 20kg.
He challenged the county government to keep its word of restocking the lake with the earmarked fingerlings, noting that for years fishermen had been forced to contribute towards the exercise.
By Esther Mwangi/Hannah Wangui