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Fish farmers receive Sh3million to cushion them from fish deaths

Fish farmers in Kisumu County are set to benefit from Sh.3 million donations from the County government to cushion them from the losses incurred following the massive death of fish in their cages.

Fishermen from Kisumu East, Kisumu West and Seme Sub counties have recorded losses estimated to over Sh40 million, since October due to the fish deaths witnessed in Lake Victoria.

The cash issued by the County Department of Fisheries and Livestock will go into the purchase of fingerlings worth Sh2 million and fish feed worth Sh.1 million to support the affected farmers in restocking.

Residents have also filed complaints about the discoloured water and foul smell emanating from the water mass that has disrupted their economic activities around the lake.

Governor Anyang’ Nyong’o speaking during a presser, attributed the death of fish stock to pollution of the lake by toxic effluents from industries and the dumping of wastes by individuals reducing oxygen levels for the fish.

“Research by Kenya Marine and Fisheries Research Institute (KMFRI) in collaboration with other government agencies revealed that Lake Victoria is choking with high nutrient loads resulting into algae bloom affecting the ecological imbalance in the waters,” Prof. Nyong’o said.

Nyong’o laments that Kisumu has endured huge economic setbacks posed by the threats in the fisheries sector which is a source of livelihood for many residents.

“My government is greatly concerned by the massive losses incurred by the cage fish farmers because they offer employment to many people and help supplement fish supplies in the market,” stated the County boss.

He implored the National Environment Management Authority of Kenya (NEMA) and Water Resources Management Authority (WARMA) to jointly expedite on the investigation and prosecution of those found culpable for the pollution.

“I propose that it is high time we came with tougher legislations both in the National and County Assemblies to deal with Environmental pollution,” he posed.

According to KMFRI Kisumu Assistant Director Dr. Christopher Aura, the occurrence in the lake is because of Climate Change and has affected the entire region including Uganda and Tanzania.

To remedy the situation, Governor Nyong’o pledged that his administration will adopt a multi-sectorial approach to address pollution of the lake and the environment in a bid to save Lake Victoria.

In addition, he urged the residents to downscale the upstream nutrient enrichment through the adoption of good agricultural practices and afforestation to buffer siltation and erosion in the area.

Kisumu County has over 3,500 fishermen with over 80,000 households depending directly on the fisheries sector. The annual fish production is estimated at 1,965 Mt. tons, valued at Sh320million.

By Robert Ojwang’

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