Homa Bay fishermen, fish farmers benefit from Ksh5.7M equipment
Homa Bay County Government through the Department of Blue Economy and Fisheries has distributed fish pond predator nets to 53 fish farmer groups worth Ksh4.5 million.
The department is also distributed 240 pieces of life jackets to 28 Beach Management Units (BMU) valued at Ksh1.2 million to improve the safety of fishermen who practice capture fishing in Lake Victoria.
The nets distribution project is being implemented under the Aquaculture Business Development Program (ABDBP) and it is set to benefit all the small-scale fish farmers and BMU networks across the county.
Speaking when he presided over the distribution of the nets and the life jackets, Fisheries and Blue Economy CEC John Agili said the distribution of the predator nets will help the beneficiaries in preventing pre-harvest losses to the farmers.
Agili said the ABDBP currently supports over 1900 small-scale holder fish farmers at the village level which benefitted.
"The farmers will use the nets to cover their ponds to avoid or prevent predators from feeding on the fish to improve their income and avoid losses," said Agili.
"As a County Government, our wish is to make our county be at the top in terms of fish pond farming and this can only be achieved through support to our small-scale fish farmers."
Despite cage fish farming thriving in Lake Victoria, the CEC said they already set a budget to construct a hatchery to boost aquaculture and also to restock Lake Victoria to increase the dwindling population of some of the species, especially tilapia.
"We have set aside an allocation in the current budget to construct a hatchery in Ndhiwa Constituency to enable our farmers to get improved fingerlings which are certified at a lower cost to improve their fish farming. Once the fingerlings will be ready, we will also restock our lake with some of the fish species which are facing extinction due to illegal and overfishing," he said.
"As promised during campaigns by our Governor Gladys Wanga, we are committed to helping our fishermen and fish farmers to ensure that their livelihoods are improved to improve our economy."
The CEC further said that his department is committed to ensuring that each and every BMU in the county and anyone who is using the lake either for the purposes of transport or while fishing must have a life jacket to prevent the loss of lives which has been witnessed in the past.
The county BMU chairman Edward Oremo urged the County Government to avail more life jackets to their members to use while travelling in the lake or during patrols to ensure no one loses a life in the lake in case of any tragedy.
"We have over 170 beaches along Lake Victoria and over 200,000f fishermen and we just want to urge the County government to add more safety jackets as we move forward," he said.
A number of fishermen have in the past lost their lives in the lake while on their fishing expeditions due to a lack of safety jackets.