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Organization in a mission to save endangered fish species

A private fish farm in Homa Bay dubbed, Victory Farms has left no stone unturned in its efforts to restore the population of fish species that are almost non-existent in Lake Victoria.

The Nile tilapia species (Oreochromis Esculentus) locally known as Nyamami which have tremendously declined and nearing extinction, are soon to be re-introduced back into the lake in a move directed towards restoring its population.

The Aquaculture Business Development Programme (ABDP), Homa Bay County Coordinator, Michael Omondi, said Victory Farms intends to culture these fish species in beaches within Kaksingri Ward in Homa Bay, with the help of the Beach Management Units (BMUs).

There were over 13 species of fish in Lake Victoria in the recent past, but with environmental changes and other catalysts, some of these species have totally disappeared.

“The number of some fish species has reduced to the point of either near extinction or they have probably become extinct. This is because of changes in the environment as well as breeding sites,” said Omondi.

Before, the fisheries department had its focus only on three major commercials, the Nile perch also called the white gold of Kenya, tilapia which was the food security species and omena (Silver Cyprinids), being used as human food and an ingredient for animal feeds.

A fisher boat sailing in the waters of Lake Victoria. Photo by Sitna Omar

However, other fish species, including the lung fish (Kamongo), Labeo Victorianus and the catfish were neglected together with other minor fish species which are also endangered.

“We are now realizing that these types of fish are also slowly becoming extinct,” he added.

Omondi noted the 2023/2027 County Integrated Development Plan (CIPD) has a provision for the Fisheries Management Plan and was hopeful that it will address this challenge and help restore the endangered fish species.

“This plan will rejuvenate the lake and make it vibrant like before,” he added.

Dan Obado, Community Relations Officer (CRO) Victory Farms said the organization has acquired a total of 200 brood stock of Nile tilapia from Kenya Marine and Fisheries Institute (KRMFRI) and is moving to populate the fish in ponds.

To achieve its goal, the farm has partnered with Conservation International to initiate a project aimed at sensitizing and mobilizing the community to identify breeding zones (conservation areas) for the brood stock.

“We are going to do wild stocking within those conservative areas identified by the local BMUs. This is an initiative that will bring back those fish species that are on the verge of extinction and also tackle the dwindling number of wild catch within our lake,” noted the CRO.

He requested the local BMUs to embrace such kinds of projects, which are projected to increase fish within the waters of Lake Victoria.

By Sitna Omar

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