Kenyan fishermen. (Photo: FMAP)
Fisheries minister endorses fisheries bill, aquaculture
Monday, November 26, 2012, 00:20 (GMT + 9)
The fisheries bill recently passed by the cabinet will be announced publicly soon to hopefully give a boost to fishing activities across Kenya, according to the Minister for Fisheries Development Amason Kingi.
The bill will be tabled before the House this week, he said, and he is encouraging Members of Parliament to pass it, as it would help the industry prosper. Fishing is the second-most vital economic activity in the Nyanza region, Kingi stressed during the inauguration of a fish landing site in Homabay County.
This legislation was designed to regulate and monitor fisheries operations by establishing policy measures inked into the national oceans and fisheries policy four years ago. These measures promote a higher production and exploitation of the country’s exclusive economic zone and Lake Turkana, to make up for Lake Victoria’s depleted waters, KBC News reports.
The KES 24 million- (USD 274,915) construction of the recently launched Nyandiwa fish project boasts a flaked ice-making machine, cold storage and fish handling facilities. The project is meant to minimise post-harvest losses along Lake Victoria.
“Nyanza contributes over 85 per cent of fish landed in the country,” the minester said, AfricaNews reports.
In 2011, 129,553 tonnes of fish worth more than KES 13 billion (USD 148.9 million) were landed, up 17 per cent compared to 2010. Homabay County contributed 64 per cent, Kingi said.
But as most fish landing sites are not close to processing factories, fishers risk post-harvest losses. Kenya’s government and the European Union (EU) are hoping to help remedy the situation by funding six fishing landing sites worth KES 202.5 million (USD 2.3 million) in Nyandiwa, Luanda Kotieno, Wichlum, Sori Karungu and Mulukhoba in Western Kenya.
Further, Kingi said, the government is building four more fish collection centres each worth KES 18 million (USD 206,187) at Mainuga and Remba (Homabay), Nyangwina (Migori) and Usenge (Siaya) counties. Still, capture fisheries face the stalwart obstacle of rising illegal fishing gear use and warned fishers that they will be arrested if caught.
He also promoted aquaculture and said Nyanza is ripe for the industry due to its soil and climate, and would strongly contribute to food security, higher livelihoods, better nutrition and economic growth.
“Aquaculture has great potential to meet the growing demand for fish in region especially in the face of rapidly declining fish stocks in Lake Victoria,” said Kingi.
The government, he noted, injected over KES 5.6 billion (USD 64.1 million) into the sector in the last three financial years under the Economic Stimulus Programme (ESP). The Ministry of Fisheries Development is joining forces with Germany and Israel to research how to turn aquaculture into a key for income production and food security.
The KES 240 million- (USD 2.75 million) trilateral tilapia value chain programme will run for two years and was designed to improve the sustainability of Lake Victoria and eliminate poverty by creating alternative livelihoods for local communities.
- Germany, Israel and Kenya to improve farmed tilapia value chain
By Natalia Real