By John Odhiambo
Lake Victoria accounts for a significant share of Homa Bay county’s economic activities. Consequently, fishing activity on the lake has emerged as a priority area for the county government.
Despite ongoing challenges like fish depletion, the county government is aiming to ensure the lake is utilised fully by rolling out several initiatives to bolster efforts by local residents.
In the recent past, local fishermen have raised concerns over the increasing fish importation, especially from China. The importation challenges have forced locals to sell their catch at a throwaway price since the imported fish usually retails at lower prices.
“Some people introduced foreign fish in our markets. They sell them at throw-away prices yet they are not sweet. They transport tons of fish using lorries to Homa Bay. In a day, at least six lorries enter our market,” said Rose Langa the head of the local fishing community.
Notably, the county government has also accused fishermen of engaging in illegal practices that interfere with the growth of fish.
According to the Homa Bay county, CIDP 2018-2022 report the department of fisheries and aquaculture structured its functions to ensure mapping, demarcation and protection of breeding sites, and cage farming. This is to be undertaken by different institutions with both national and county government involvement.
Notably, the State Department of Fisheries, Lake basin Development Authority, County Department of Fisheries and Kenya Maritime Authority are among the key players involved in reviving the fishing industry.
The County Government has also proposed the development of aquaculture park facilities which will be under the responsibilities of the County Department of Fisheries, Tourism Fisheries Corporation.
Part of the county government’s input is the provision of finances to aid different projects. Between 2018 and 2022, the county is projected to allocate about Sh1.5 billion to the fisheries department. The county has since established 1,801 fish ponds.
According to the County Fiscal Strategy Paper for 2021, Homa Bay also allocated Sh33.7 million to enhance the availability of fisheries resources through the construction and stocking of fish ponds and cages alongside the supply of farmed fish feeds and fish harvesting nets.
Image: Fishing activities in Homa Bay county. Source: KBC
This story was produced by Ekialo Ekiona FM in partnership with Code for Africa, Kenya Community Media Network and the Catholic Media Council with support from the German Cooperation as a part of the Our County Our Responsibility project.