An Israeli investor has expressed interest in setting up a Nile Perch multiplication center in Kisumu to boost dwindling fish stocks in Lake Victoria.
The state of the art facility to be constructed at Kabonyo-Kanyagwal area in Nyando Sub-County, shall also be a center of excellence in Nile Perch production and value chain to benefit thousands of fish farmers in the area.
State Department for Fisheries, Aquaculture and Blue Economy Principal Secretary (PS) Dr. Francis Owino said the government has set aside 490 acres of land for the project.
The land which belongs to the State Department, he said, shall be handed over to the investor who is expected in the country in February next year to undertake a feasibility study for the project.
Owino further disclosed that the government was in talks with International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD) to see how best the available land can be utilized to promote fish farming and aquaculture in the area.
“The IFAD mission has already visited the site and we hope to put up a strong case during the Medium Term Review meeting to be held in February to see how we can unlock funds to roll out these initiatives,” he said.
Speaking on Monday at Tom Mboya Labor College in Kisumu during a multi-agency stakeholders’ coordination and consultation meeting on the Lake Victoria blue economy, Dr. Owino said the question of dwindling fish stocks in Lake Victoria was a big concern which required concerted efforts to save the once giant fish producer.
According to the Kenya Fisheries Service (KFS), production of fish from Lake Victoria dropped from 200, 000 metric tonnes in 2012 to 90, 000 metric tonnes in 2021.
This figure is set to drop further following a rise in the number of illegal fishing activities within the lake.
The PS said focus must now shift from the traditional fish farming methods to on farm fish production and cage fish farming to address the shortage of fish in the country.
The department, he said, has engaged firms engaged in cage fish farming within the lake to pass on the technology and skills to local farmers to scale up production.
Alongside this, he said the government was in the process of constructing modern fish landing sites on the shores of the lake to benefit the fisherfolk.
This financial year, he said two landing sites shall be constructed at Lwanda K’otieno in Siaya County and Sori in Migori County at a cost of Sh. 140 million.
“The idea is to construct and complete the two landing sites then look for more funds to construct the remaining four sites next financial year,” he said.
To contain cases of piracy and illegal fish farming within the lake, the PS disclosed that the multi -agency team which also includes the Kenya Coast Guard Service and National Government Administration Officers (NGAO) was on course to arrest the situation.
“We are enforcing usage of proper fishing gear and registration of fishing boats so as to account for the fishermen within our waters,” he said.
The meeting brought together Beach Management Units (BMU’s) representatives, Kenya Marine and Fisheries Research Institute (KMFRI), Kenya Maritime Authority (KMA), Kenya Coastguard Service, Kenya Fisheries Service (KFS) and National Government Administration Officers (NGAO) from the lake facing counties.
By Chris Mahandara