Fish production declining, warns government official
Thursday, August 29, 2002
The East African Standard (Nairobi, Kenya)by Mathias Ringa
The national fish productivity is on the decline, Agriculture Minister, Dr Bonaya Godana, said yesterday.
Lake Victoria, which produces 85 per cent of the national annual fish catch, is hardest hit by the decline, Godana said. He made the remarks at a Mombasa hotel where he officially inaugurated the Kenya Marine and Fisheries Research Institute (KMFRI) Board of management.
The KMFRI board members include Prof A H El-Busaidy (chairman), Prof Steven Njuguna, Prof Charles Okidi, Dr Simon Hemphil, Dr Stephen Mbithi, Dr Mtana Lewa and Mr James Ogari.
An impending acute scarcity of fish looms in the country in the near future as fish catches continue to decline, The minister said.
"With increased demands for fish by the growing population, an impending acute scarcity of fish is foreseen in the near future as fish catches continue to go down," he said. At the same time, Godana said cases of conflicts resulting from overfishing at the Coast and along lake shores are on the rise.
The decline in fish catches could be addressed by exploiting water bodies like Lake Turkana and deep sea fisheries in the Indian Ocean, he added.
He called for the promotion of aqua-culture in irrigation schemes, ponds, along shores of lakes and the ocean.
The minister further called for the promotion of methodologies that will encourage restoration and recovery of dwindling stocks of fish in overexploited water bodies.
The new KMFRI board is expected to promote research that would address food security, poverty alleviation and industrial development in line with national development plan policies, he said.