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KISUMU

How Kisumu residents are reaping big from new fish farming method

Reuben Simiyu
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The cages used for rearing fish in Lake Victoria at Dunga in Kisumu. [Source/Reuben Wanjala]

In 2005, the Kenya Fisheries Research Institute (KEMFRI) in Kisumu exploited the possibility of rolling out a new fish farming method that would bring maximum results. 

Cage Fish Farming as is popularly known is helping residents of Kisumu reap big as it has not only increased income by farmers but also the influx of fish into the local market.

According to KEMFRI, this method is proving to be the ultimate untamed resource with the potential to produce more than what has been recorded over the years.

Besides giving fishermen an alternative after the spread of water hyacinth affected fishing activities in Lake Victoria, it has been seen as a solution to overfishing within the lake.

"Cage Culture was introduced to address the overfishing problem in Lake Victoria. Fish was becoming dangerously depleted and we had to think of alternative easier methods to harvest maximum fish," says Veronica Ombua, a researcher at KEMFRI. 

"In Cage Fish Farming", he explains, "cages measuring 6 by 3 metres are first assembled and floated on the water then moved to distances exceeding one kilometre off the shore. Each cage has a capacity of about 10,000 fingerlings which take about 6-8 months to mature. Of these, at least 9,000 make it to maturity and are harvested."

For foreigners, the cages may seem like misplaced objects floating on the surface of the lake but for the locals, homes to the most coveted treasure of the region especially in Usenge and Dunga in Kisumu.

Although cheap imported fish from China has also been a major undercutting in the success of the Cage Fish Farming, currently, more than 3,600 cages have translated to the consistent influx of fish into the local market which is a promising undertaking. 

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