Siaya Governor James Orengo has announced new measures aimed at promoting sustainable fishing to unlock business for the Sh4 billion industry.
Orengo announced that the county government will prioritize the welfare of fishermen, by training them, advocating for safe fishing practices, and promoting value addition to increase income and improve livelihoods.
Speaking at Liunda Beach, Bondo sub-county, during the event to mark World Fisheries Day, the governor emphasized that the county will work with sector players to ensure sustainable management and development of the blue economy resources.
“Fish farming is one of the key components of our economic transformation agenda that we will continue to support in order to increase our income generation,” he said.
Siaya County relies mainly on Lake Victoria and Kanyaboli, for natural fisheries resources.
These two lakes contribute to over 95 per cent of the annual fish production by weight, producing about 30,000 metric tons of fish annually and earning the fishers over Sh4 billion.
According to the 2020 boat census, Siaya Waters of Lake Victoria has 14,708 fishing crews (5,090 crafts) that go to the lake daily.
“Therefore it is evident that the fisheries resources of Siaya county underpin the livelihoods of many residents in terms of food and employment directly and indirectly through allied industries and support services,” said Orengo.
The County Executive for Agriculture, Food Security, Livestock, and Blue Economy, Sylvester K'Okoth emphasized the importance of safe and regulated fishing practices.
“Fishing practices that destroy the fishing habitat, fishing for juvenile fish or using unauthorized means must be discouraged as a way of ensuring the sustainability of this resource. It is also an opportunity to focus on other livelihood options as a safety net for the increasing demand for this nutritious food,” said K'Okoth.
He expressed optimism that the expansion of fish value-addition industries in the county will promote sustainable fishing.
K'Okoth cited the Lwanda Kotieno Fish Processing Plant in Rarieda Sub-county, which is opening new opportunities through utilization of by-catch and low-value fish catches.
“Since these products are high-value fish-based coated products, the economic activities can offer good dividends to everyone in the production and distribution network,” he said.
Chief Officer for Agriculture, Food Security, Livestock and Blue Economy, Elizabeth Adongo said changes in climatic conditions, increasing production costs and rising population continue to make farming in the county hard.
“We are committed to continuously look into their welfare, provide an enabling working environment, and offer regular training for enhanced skills which would directly impact to fishing community's investments,” said Adongo.
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Mining, Blue Economy and Maritime Affairs Cabinet Secretary Salim Mvurya recently announced Siaya as the official host of the National Celebrations of World Fisheries Day 2024; and a further Budgetary allocation of Sh1.5 billion towards the development of the fish landing sites of Luanda Kotieno, Asembo Bay and Wich Lum.