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Project to promote fish production in Taita Taveta unveiled

The Go Blue Project, in collaboration with Taita Taveta County, has embarked on plans to revitalise the role of Beach Management Units (BMUs) to promote fish production and create more in the subsector.

This renewed energy was on display during a visit to Lakes Chala and Jipe in Taveta by the Go Blue Project delegation, hosted by the County Executive Member for Agriculture, Livestock, Fisheries, Irrigation, and Blue Economy, Eric Kyongo. 

During the visit, local BMUs received an assortment of fishing, boat repair, and safety equipment, which will go a long way towards augmenting fishing activities in a safe and sustainable way. 

While handing over the gear and equipment, Go Blue’s delegation lead, Bruno Lemasho, urged the BMUs to utilise modern tools to exploit the full potential of the water resources to spur growth in the subsector.

Acknowledging the vital role that fishing plays in the county’s economy, Kyongo said the subsector is punching way below its weight, and plans are underway to improve production from commercial fish ponds, Lake Jipe, and Lake Chala. 

“The fishing subsector is a long way from exhausting its potential, and we’re working with partners like the Go Blue project and the African Wildlife Foundation to revive fishing ponds and get more fish from Lakes Jipe and Chala,” said Kyongo. 

According to Kyongo, the county’s 700 fish ponds produce a total of 175 tonnes of fish, with Lakes Chala and Jipe bringing in 60 and 200 tonnes, respectively, each year. 

With proper management and empowerment of BMUs, Kyongo said that Lakes Chala and Jipe have the potential to produce a combined total of 1600 tonnes of fish annually. 

On matters of human-wildlife conflict that hamper fishing activities at Lake Jipe, Kyongo announced that a fencing project was underway to keep away hippos and elephants. 

“As we talk, a section of Lake Jipe is being fenced to limit the access of elephants and hippos to areas where fishermen can access the lake and fish safely,” said Kyongo.

The Kenya Wildlife Service was represented by Josheph Kavi, Taita Taveta KWS warden, who lauded locals for ensuring peaceful coexistence with wildlife and the involvement of youths in fishing, which has greatly reduced poaching. 

He further challenged the local community to come up with creative ways to harness the massive tourism opportunities to attract visitors, who will, in turn, bring revenue to the locals. 

“There’s massive potential for tourism, and you need to be creative enough to make visitors want to come here, and we can create sources of income from such opportunities,” said Kavi. 

The BMUs, through Embaria BMU Chairperson Timothy Metuo, were receptive to the gesture and promised to work with the county and other partners to ensure that the blue resources contribute their fair share to the county’s economy, but asked for more support for modern fishing and safety equipment. 

“We’re ready to tap the full potential of Lakes Jipe and Chala and ensure that the fishing sub-sector contributes to the larger county’s economic basket. However, we need more modern fishing and safety equipment to do so,” said Metuo.

By Arnold Linga Masila

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