Livelihoods among fishermen at Sori Beach in Migori County is expected to improve if the proposed modern boat landing site is constructed.
Fisheries, Aquaculture and Blue Economy PS Dr. Francis Owino said the Government had terminated contract for the old unfinished landing bay due to continuous rising of water levels of Lake Victoria which had already submerged part of the building.
Owino revealed that the Government had allocated funds during this Financial Year 2021-2022, for the construction of a modern landing bay at Sori Beach.
He said fishermen will have their fish processed and stored, awaiting to be moved to different markets.
The PS said the Government had also identified higher grounds to reconstruct landing sites at Nyandiwa Beach in Homabay County, Wichlum and Luanda Kotieno in Siaya County and Ogal site in Kisumu, all affected by the Lake rising water levels.
“So, those five landing sites were affected by rising water levels of the Lake.The government has factored in the financial year 2021-2022 funds to reconstruct the sites at higher ground so that fishermen can benefit from the Blue Economy potential at the lake sites,” the PS said.
According to Sori Beach Management Secretary, Justus Habari, the old unfinished landing site was constructed in 2009.
He said the Government was in the process of finishing the site, but part of the building is already submerged by rising water from the lake.
Habari said fishermen will have their fish preserved awaiting transport to other parts of the country if the new landing site is constructed.
He expressed confidence that a fully operational landing site at Sori will act as a source of employment to the residents of Sori.
Jane Odondi, a fish processor at Sori Beach, lamented that their fish frequently go bad, especially during the rainy season.
“Our Omena normally go to waste during the rainy season, but if we have a completely constructed storage facility at the landing site, then we’ll make profits through the year,” she said.
She called on the government to fast track the construction of the modern landing bay so that the fishing industry as a source of their livelihoods can be fully exploited.
Kennedy Omondi, Nyatike Sub-County Fisheries Officer, said the County Government of Migori was fully in support of the National Government move to reconstruct the modern landing site at Sori Beach.
Omondi said since the construction of the current landing site, it has not served its intended purpose.
“We realized this landing site structure was constructed in 2009, but since then it has not served its purpose. The purpose was to process fish and also act as a storage, awaiting to be transported to different markets,” he said.
Late last year, the Kenya Maritime Authority, signed an agreement with the Migori County Government to construct a Rescue Centre at Sori Beach.
Fishermen who are attacked or their boats capsizes due to strong waves in the lake will be rescued by the Centre Monitoring Emergency Team.
By Geoffrey Satia