Kisumu County declines pressure to close Chinese fish firm


Kisumu County Government will not shut down the East African Seafood Ltd. Agriculture, Livestock and Fisheries Executive Henry Obade said the firm has been operating legally in the country for the last four years.

“We do not have a legal statute or the mandate to shut down the factory. What we can do is to involve other stakeholders, assess and make recommendations for appropriate action to be taken,” said Obade.

Mr Obade said it would be against the spirit of World Trade Organization (WTO) to prevent fish factories from operating arguing that the county gains most of its revenues from exporting fish to the European Union markets that are also processed by the said companies.

"We used to have so many fish factories in Kisumu but they have since shut down. Only the East African Seafood Limited is currently operational. If we also shut it down how will it be of gain to us?" he said.

The county has been under pressure from local leaders including governors, MPs and MCAs from the lake region to have the company closed.

They accused the state of economic sabotage by allowing Chinese firms to import fish.

The county executive member took issue in the manner in which the legislators have dealt with the issue of fish imports saying that they have been inspecting the company on regular basis and so far they have not found any illegality.

"Some of the politicians you see making noise are the ones importing fish from China and other foreign countries. We have to be very careful as a government. We do not want to scare away investors or raise alarm. We have to do our things in a professional manner, "said Obade.

Kisumu County in the recent months has been grappling with the shortage of fish which is the main staple food for the communities living along the lake.

The shortages have been occasioned by illegal trade and over-fishing especially the Nile perch and tilapia which has since seen the prices of fish go up and thereby threatening the livelihoods of communities living along the lake.