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Fishermen count losses as demand for fish drops over lockdown

By Antony Gitonga | April 9th 2021
Fishmonger at Kamere landing beach in a file photo (Anthony Gitonga)

NAIVASHA, KENYA: Fish prices in Lake Naivasha have dropped by over 50 per cent in the last two weeks due to the recently introduced lockdown and curfew regulations.

Despite an increase in production, demand has dipped sharply after hotels closed down following the containment measures introduced by the State.

As a result, fish worth thousands of shillings is going to waste in several landing beaches around the water body forcing some traders and fishermen to close business.

The tens of traders around the Lake now want the county government to waive the annual fees that they pay and the national government to come up with a rescue package.

According to Wesley Kimutai the chairman Kamere landing beach, they are incurring daily losses since the lockdown in the five counties was introduced.

“Before the lockdown, we could barely meet the demand but we are only selling 50 per cent of the catch as ferrying the fish to places like Kisumu has become near impossible,” he said.

Kimutai noted that hotels dealing with the sale of fish had closed down due to a drop in the number of their customers leading to the current crisis.

“Fish prices have dropped by fifty per cent and we fear that they could dip further due to the new restrictions which have brought this sector to its knees,” he said.

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Kimutai challenged the county government to waive the monthly fees that the fishermen and traders were paying as one way of cushioning them against the pandemic.

This was echoed by a trader Caren Achieng who said that many of their colleagues had been rendered jobless due to the new Covid-19 measures.

Achieng said that due to the review of curfew hours, they were closing their business early to avoid arrest by security officers.

“The fisheries sector has been adversely affected by the lockdown as our customers cannot access the beach and our market share has shrunk,” she said.

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