Beach officials oppose cage fishing in Lake Victoria

Cage fishing in Lake Victoria by Rio Holdings Ltd at Nyatambe beach in Suba South, Homa Bay County on December 30, 2017 [James Omoro| Standard]
Fishermen and cage farmers have been accused of over-exploiting Lake Victoria fish stocks.

National Beach Management Unit Chairman Tom Guda and his Homa Bay County counterpart Edward Oremo said some fish cages were being placed in the lake against marine laws.

Guda promised to petition governors of counties abutting the lake to have the illegal fish cages removed.

He said the cages were an environmental hazard to marine life.

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"The cages are interfering with the lake ecosystem because they have been placed without any environmental assessment," he said.

Oremo called for immediate removal of fish cages placed without following due process.

"Everybody now wants to place a cage in Lake Victoria regardless of the required procedure. The illegal cages should be removed to avoid conflict," said Mr Oremo.

Currently, many aquaculture farmers in Homa Bay, Migori and Siaya counties are engaged in cage fishing following dwindling lake stocks.

According to a Kenya Marine and Fisheries Research Institute assistant director, Christopher Aura, cages should be put in the lake at a depth of at least eight metres.

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"The depth provides sufficient oxygen for growth of fish," said Dr Aura.

He urged the cage owners to use floating feeds as opposed to sinking feeds that fall on the ground beneath the water.

He said being on the ground leads to rotting of the feeds and enhances growth of microalgae which compete for oxygen with the fish and other marine life.

To end the conflict, the institute has urged the fishermen and owners of cages to adopt the Cages Culture Suitability Map, a guidebook developed by the institute that outlines regions of the lake suitable for cage fishing.

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