First fish cage culture in Busia County introduced
Busia County Government with the support of the Finnish Government through PALWECO, have introduced the first fish cage culture in Busia to save Lake Victoria which is experiencing dwindling production of capture fish due to overfishing, poor fishing methods, pollution and climate change.
Bukoma Beach in Bunyala West Ward is the recipient of 18 cages which have been stocked with 2,000 fingerlings each bringing it to a total of 36,000 fingerlings.
Busia County Water Ambulance was in hand to ferry dignitaries to Munaka area where the cages are positioned , about 10km from Bukoma Beach
Director of Fisheries Timothy Odende said during the launch at Bukoma Beach that 60 more cages will be introduced in other beaches in Bunyala and Samia and which will be managed by Beach Management Units.
Odende said fish cage was introduced to reduce pressure on the Lake. ” We shall have two days in a week where fishermen will not interfere with the Lake to give it a breather.”
County Executive Committee member for Finance and ICT Leornard Obimbira said cage farming will boost farmers’ incomes and reduce overfishing on the lake.
PALWECO Director Madakhana Mbaya said introduction of fish cage will end arbitrary arrests of Kenyan fishermen who go to fish on Ugandan side of the lake.
The planned increase in fish cages will boost fish stock and assurance of ready -made market in Nairobi which had remained elusive for Busia businessmen,” he said.
The two of the remaining cages will be used for purposes of accommodating some of the tilapia fish from the 18 cages as they grow bigger. The first harvest will Fish will be ready for harvest after six months.
One fish cage is expected to produce at least 1,800 fish which is equivalent to 720kg. If the farmers make a good harvest, they can expect to raise about Sh216,000 from one cage and this will translate to about Sh3.9m,” he said.
Odende said fish farmers from other parts of the County which don’t border the lake can start the cage farming on the lake but the management of the cage will be left to BMUs.
He said the County Government will outsource a firm to offer technical management services with BMUs to provide security.
For ownership and sustainability of the project, the BMUs will contribute towards the payment of the caretaker’s fees.
This enterprise is well thought out and its is key to improving the livelihoods of the fish farmers by enabling them meet their household needs as well as other socio-economic needs,” Odede said.
Photos: Fish cages floating on Lake Victoria, Bukoma Beach in Bunyala sub county