Residents of Kisumu County today joined the rest of the world in celebrating World Fisheries Day at Paga Beach in Kisumu West Sub County.
The purpose was to highlight the importance of maintaining sustainable fisheries and health aquatic ecosystem.
The event which is commemorated on the 21st November, annually has the global theme Cast the Net while the National one being Docking for dignity, the role of ports in advancing decent work in Fisheries.
The National theme is of significance to Kisumu due to the existing port that serves as the largest fish landing point in the lake.
This year’s event was one of its kind as the celebrations comprised of activities that engaged both fishermen and fish farmers in team building work environment.
The activities included: exhibitions,tree planting , boat racing, tug of war, and fish eating competition.
While presiding over the event, the Deputy Governor, Dr. Matthew Owilli said the day gave a platform to the fisherfolk across the World to take stock of their activities in relation to conservation of fishing activities and the ecosystem or if they have caused destruction through illegal fishing methods and poor environmental conservation.
He underscored the fact that the Kenya’s fishery sector contributes to national socio- economic development through food and nutrition security, employment, trade and development
The sector also supports auxiliary industries such as net making, packaging materials, boat making and repair , sports and hospitality.
He reiterated that Kisumu is centrally located and it falls along the distribution chain of fisheries and fish products of the lake.
With over exploitation activities in the lake over the years, this has resulted to the decline on fish stock over the years, hence sustaining the stock is under a threat affecting lives of 3, 028 fishermen along Kisumu County beaches.
The County Directorate of fisheries has in the last five years made interventions to promote aquaculture through distribution of 962,000 fingerlings, 280 predator nets, 280 bird nets, 115 pond liners, 10 harvesting nets, 3, 500kgs of fish feeds among other infrastructures along the beaches and the markets.
The department has equally enhanced security in the lake through provision of one patrol boat , 219 safety jackets and also conducting health talks to 1,000 participants
On his part, The CECM Agriculture, Irrigation, Livestock and Fisheries, Hon. Kenn Onyango said the aim is to commercialize fish farming due to the potential in the blue economy space.
He urged the fisherfolk to work closely with credit institutions that will enable growth of their businesses. He further advised them to form viable Cooperative SACCOs. The department in this financial year he said will install cold storage facilities along the beaches to reduce post harvest losses.
According to the area MCA, Hon Jenifer Obonyo, she was pleased to host the event. Her concern was the poor condition of the roads that interferes with the businesses along the beaches but she is optimistic that funds have been allocated to improve the roads and to put up a water project in the area.
The event was graced by representatives from the national government, Parastatals, Banks, County officials, the fisherfolk across all sub Counties and residents from the locality.