The following are Problems facing Fishing in Kenya and their possible solutions
1. Environmental limitations: – tropical location hence warm waters which limit the number and variety of fish in marine fisheries.
Solution: – increasing research to get varieties of fish species that can survive under these tropical conditions and introduce then in our fishing grounds. These research centres include Fresh Water
Research Station – Nairobi, Sagana Fish Farming Centre – Kirinyaga and Marine Fisheries Research Station – Mombasa
2. Over fishing/overexploitation of fish resources – this is caused by indiscriminate fishing/overharvesting of fisheries, use of small meshed nets, seining and trawling. It endangers the natural replacement of certain species since with time the fish species reduce
because young fish are not allowed time to mature.
Solution: – More vigilant surveillance of the fisheries, licensing of fishermen to control their numbers and activities, restocking overfished areas, prohibiting small meshed gill nets, introduction of fish
farming to reduce overdependence on natural fisheries, banning/prohibiting fishing for some time to
let the fish regenerate.
3. Pollution: – of fisheries by industrial and agricultural wastes, sewage disposal and oil spillage make the water less habitable for plankton growth and thriving of fish. This reduces the amount of fish.
Solution: – strict legislation should be put in place to check disposal of industrial wastes into fishing grounds, industries are encouraged to treat their wastes before releasing them into lakes and rivers
4. Poaching & competition from well-developed fishing nations: – fishermen from Asia and Europe using advanced equipment and fishing methods reduce the amount of fish. Also the fish and sales proceeds land back in their countries.
Solution: – the KWS patrols the Indian Ocean to monitor and restrict stray fishermen from Kenyan waters – arrest and confiscate their fishing equipment.
5. Presence of water weeds: – some fishing grounds e.g. Lake Victoria is infested with water hyacinth along the lake shores. This chokes the fishing boats and hinders the fishermen from reaching far areas with a lot of fish.
Solution: – local community, NGOs and the government to make attempts in removing the weeds from the lake
6. Inadequate capital: – most fishermen in Kenya use traditional methods of fishing that limits their catch due to lack of adequate capital for purchasing advanced fishing equipment and
refrigeration facilities. This limited marine fishing in deep seas with a variety of fish and a lot of catch.
Solution: – provision of loans to the fishermen through financial institutions and government agencies, encouraging fishermen to form cooperatives so as to assist them in raising the required capital.
7. Poorly developed transport network: – some roads leading to the fishing grounds area poorly maintained and impassable during the rainy season. This leads to delay in delivery of caught fish to the processing plants/factories hence go bad since fish is highly perishable.
Solution: – government is making efforts to improve/develop the roads leading to such grounds, local fishermen through their Saccos to purchase refrigerated vehicles to facilitate transport, fishermen to use other methods of preserving fish e.g. salting, smoking, and drying to preserve fish
8. Limited market:- the demand for fish in the country is small because; fish eating is less popular with most communities, some fishing grounds e.g. Lake Turkana are located in sparsely populated areas and fish is more expensive compared to other sources of protein.
Solution: – the government should encourage the local communities to embrace fish eating as an alternative to red meat – through establishment of fish farms.
9. Accidents within the lakes & ocean:- sometimes during the year, fishing boats and canoes capsize to the lakes and in Indian Ocean due to strong winds and prevailing storms. This leads to loss of fishing equipment and even life. The fishermen are therefore prohibited from venturing into far waters with a lot of catch and variety.
Solution: – fishermen are encouraged to use bigger boats that are motorized; these can withstand storms and strong winds
10. Inter boundary conflicts: – sometimes, Kenyan fishermen are arrested by Uganda and Tanzania authorities for straying into their waters along the boundary of Lake Victoria. They often lose their catch and fishing equipment.
Solution: – Kenyan policemen to patrol the boundaries to ensure the fishermen remain within the Kenyan waters.
11. Lack of fish cooperatives: – most fishermen do not belong to fish cooperatives through which they can market their catch. They therefore sell their catch through middlemen hence realize marginal profits.
Solution: – fishermen should be encouraged to form and join fish cooperatives to assist them market their catch, get funds/acquire loans to improve their fishing practices