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State and NGO to exploit fishing at Lake Turkana

Julius Looya has fished in Lake Turkana for 17 years but never has he been more hopeful than when news broke of plans to set up a Sh200 million fish factory in his hometown of Loiyangalani. [Allan Mungai]

The State and a non-governmental organisation have partnered to ensure fishing potential in Lake Turkana is fully exploited to the benefit of the local community.

According to a stakeholders meeting held in Naivasha on Tuesday, June 8, the plan that is at infancy stage involves supporting the fisher-folk under the Omo-Turkana Basin co-management plan through the Intergovernmental Authority on Development (Igad) and fisheries department in Kenya.

According to Rodrick Kundu, the acting director of fisheries management and development, for years there was little investment in the fisheries sector around Lake Turkana. He noted that this had denied the locals the chance of reaping from the resource as demand for fish products in the country continued to rise annually. Lake Turkana Fishing

“Lake Turkana has a potential of 35,000 metric tonnes but only five metric tonnes are achieved every year and one of the main reasons is lack of proper gear to access the deep water,” he said.

He noted that the Igad project would be critical to the small-scale fishermen as it would address the issues of food security, nutrition and source of revenue.

The plan will be undertaken in Kenya and Ethiopia with the main objective being to support sustainable management and development of fisheries in alleviating poverty.

Mr Kundu noted that under the fisheries co-management trans-boundary plan, countries involved would share information and build consensus.

Igad head of mission Dr Fatma Adan said the fisheries sector could accelerate economic growth, income generation, nutrition, employment and export earnings.

She noted that most of the current fisheries activities in the Igad region were focused on inland waters located in the highlands and populated areas.

“Under this programme we shall minimise conflict of resources and address movement of counterfeit goods in the name of fishing,” she said. 

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