An Israeli businessman has indicated an interest in establishing a Nile Perch breeding center in Kisumu to help replenish Lake Victoria’s diminishing fish numbers.

The state-of-the-art facility, which will be built in Nyando Sub-Kabonyo-Kanyagwal County’s area, will also serve as a center of excellence in Nile Perch production and value chain, benefiting thousands of fish farmers in the area.

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Nile perch breeding center in Kisumu

Dr. Francis Owino, Principal Secretary (PS) of the State Department for Fisheries, Aquaculture, and the Blue Economy, said the government has set aside 490 acres for the project.

He said the State Department’s land will be given to the investor, who would arrive in the nation in February next year to conduct a feasibility assessment for the project.

Owino went on to say that the government was in talks with the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD) to figure out how to effectively utilize the existing land to encourage fish farming and aquaculture in the area.

“The IFAD mission has already visited the location, and we intend to present a compelling case during the February Medium Term Review conference to see how we can unlock money to implement these measures,” he said.

Dr. Owino, speaking at a multi-agency stakeholders’ coordination and consultation meeting on the Lake Victoria blue economy on Monday at Tom Mboya Labor College in Kisumu, said the issue of dwindling fish stocks in Lake Victoria was a major concern that required concerted efforts to save the once-giant fish producer.

Fish production from Lake Victoria has decreased from 200, 000 metric tonnes in 2012 to 90,000 metric tonnes in 2021, according to the Kenya Fisheries Service (KFS).

Following an increase in the number of illicit fishing activities within the lake, this figure is expected to fall even lower.

To alleviate the country’s fish deficit, the PS stated that the focus must now move from traditional fish farming methods to on-farm fish production and cage fish farming.

According to him, the department has partnered with cage fish farming companies in the lake to pass on technology and skills to local farmers in order to scale up output.

In addition, he stated that the government was in the process of building sophisticated fish landing places on the lake’s banks to serve fishermen.

He stated that two landing sites will be built at a cost of Sh. 140 million each in Lwanda K’otieno in Siaya County and Sori in Migori County this fiscal year.

“The plan is to build and finish the two landing sites this fiscal year, then seek additional funding to build the remaining four sites the next fiscal year,” he explained.

The PS stated that a multi-agency team, which comprises the Kenya Coast Guard Service and National Government Administration Officers (NGAO), was on its way to arrest cases of piracy and illicit fish farming in the lake.

“In order to account for the fishermen within our waters, we are enforcing the use of proper fishing gear and registration of fishing boats,” he said.

Beach Management Units (BMUs), 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 lake-facing counties all attended the meeting.

Credits: Chris Mahandara

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