The County Executive Committee Member for Agriculture, Irrigation, Livestock and Fisheries Mr. Gilchrist Okuom joined the fisherfolk in North Nyakach today to commemorate the 75th World Fisheries day held annually every 21st November.
The event marked under the theme voices from the sea formed a platform to enlighten the people that the water bodies have a maximum production limit which if overstretched and not well regulated, will deplete the ecosystem.
Owing to the growing demand for fish against the increasing human population, human activities such as using illegal fish harvesting equipment and pollution have had adverse effects on the aquatic life in the rivers, lakes and seas leading to extinction of some fish species.
Besides, the farmers were not only sensitized on the nutritional value of fish but also the importance of fish as a business. The aim is to change the mindset of the fisherfolk to move from capture fisheries to aquaculture. “Fish for health and wealth”
It is against this backdrop that the fisherfolk were introduced to various programs on fish farming and the value chains by partners who included Aquaculture Business Development Programme (ABDP). Funded by IFAD, Food and Agriculture organization (FAO), Lake Basin Development Authority (LBDA), Kenya Marine and Fisheries Research Institute (KEMFRI) and Agriculture Sector Development Support Program (ASDAP).
Speaking at the event, The County Executive Committee Member Mr. Gilchrist Okuom said the county is working with the Ministry of Agriculture, Livestock and Fisheries to come up with a raft of measures including policies that will harmonize activities in the lake.
“As a county we are encouraging fishermen not to rely so much on capture fisheries but adopt new technologies in aquaculture such as ponds to enhance fish production that will fill the deficit in the market.” He stated.
He further pointed out that having fish cages along pathways, hatching points, the pollution caused by the feeds and the synthetic material for making the cages have contributed to the decline of fish in the lake.
According to the Chief Officer Livestock and Fisheries, Madam Rosemary Raluoch pledged to promote aquaculture through activation of dormant ponds to revive fish farming for surplus production for the market.
The County Director Fisheries, Madam Susan Adhiambo urged the farmers to integrate the youths in aquaculture to boost fish production and to protect the lake which is the identity of the Lake people
The Coordinator of the ABDP programme, Mr. Kenneth Luga reiterated that Kisumu County is currently one of beneficiary of the Aquaculture Business Development Programme (ABDP). Funded by IFAD for the next 8 years.
The programme has two components focusing on promoting Production by smallholder aquaculture farmers and developing Producer Public Private Partnerships along the value chains with a goal of increasing the incomes, food security and Nutritional status of the wider communities of poor rural households involved in aquaculture in targeted counties.
However, the fishermen still grapple with challenges such as safety in the lake, resource depletion due to over-fishing, water pollution and climate change, high cost off feeds, availability of fingerlings and marketing.
Also present were county officials from the directorate of fisheries from the county headquarters and across the sub counties.
By Emily Mikwa