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Fish industry threatened

BUSINESS
By | November 23rd 2009

By Anderson Ojwang’

The Sh9.4 billion fish industry faces collapse due to dwindling stock of Nile perch.

A major export to the international markets, the Nile perch stock has thinned from 1.2 million tonnes in 2003 to 331,000.

Fisheries Minister Paul Otuoma said fishing illegalities in Lake Victoria has hastened the decline in the fish stock.

"The council of Ministers of Lake Victoria Fisheries Organisation met in Nairobi early this month and were concerned with the decline," he said.

Dr Otuoma said the council approved Sh33 million with each country contributing Sh44 million towards an operation dubbed Operation Save Nile Perch.

The minister was speaking at Usenge in Bondo District during this year’s World Fisheries Day.

He said his ministry had launched a fish farming enterprise productivity programme to be rolled out in 140 constituencies.

28,000 ponds

Otuoma said Sh1.2 billion would be used to construct and stock 28,000 ponds in the constituencies.

"I appeal to MPs to set aside funds from CDF," he said.

Otuoma said the Government was in the process of procuring patrol boats for riparian districts for surveillance and monitoring activities.

"Sh30 million had been set aside under LVEMP II to purchase more boats. At the marine and coastal fisheries, the ministry is at an advanced stage to implement the Kenya Coastal Mariculture Development Programme," he said.

The programme will be funded to the tune of Sh 4.5 billion.

Speaking at the same function, Prime Minister Raila Odinga said it was important to protect the lake and its resources and warned against the usage of illegal fishing gears.

He said with the signing of East Africa Economic Protocol, it would be easy to conserve the resource.

"We hope the signing of the protocol will help solve the Migingo island dispute and create a conducive environment for business," he said.

Present at the function were Assistant Ministers Oburu Oginga, Ayiecho Olweny and Rarieda MP Nicholas Gumbo.

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