The dwindling of natural fish in Lake Victoria has made some residents of Mukuyu Bay in Migori County in Kenya turn to cage fish farming.
The Managing Director of Bay Rise Cage Fish Farm, Mr. Alfred Achar has said that replenishing the natural stock has become the biggest challenge majorly affected by overfishing.
Mr Achar added that the depletion of natural fish in Lake Victoria made him establish a cage farm at Mukuyu Bay in Nyatike Sub County, with the aim of adding depleted fish stock to the lake.
He noted that fish caging is the perfect example of utilizing the Lake’s resources and a good alternative to producing fish.
The farm has 17 circular cages that are 10 meters wide with an intensive stocking of 60,000 per cage.
Mr Achar said that a normal pond with a similar capacity can only hold around 2,000 fish making cage farming an attractive venture.
Bay Rise Farm which started two years ago is now producing 400 metric tonnes of Tilapia fish in the Kenyan market every year.
Mr Achar disclosed that from a harvest of 20,000 fish stocks he can fetch between Sh500, 000 to Sh1.2 million.
According to the official, the unwavering nature of Lake Victoria waters has provided a conducive environment and the biggest secret of his success in cage fishing.
He noted that the idea has made many fishermen want to venture into cage farming to sustain the natural catch, but the shortage of capital has been the biggest impediment.
Lack of availability of quality fingerlings, quality feeds and capacity building are also some of the reasons limiting fishermen in doing cage farming.
Achar urged the local community to form Saccos that can enable them to access grants and loans to start cage farming.
He encouraged local fishermen and other fish farmers in Migori to embrace and welcome the venture, which he says will alleviate poverty and create job opportunities for the youths and women along the lake shores.
Bay Rise farm Manager Godfrey Nsimba said that cage fish farming is the only solution to the overfishing and depletion of the natural catch in Lake Victoria.
“Fishermen along Lake Basin should embrace cage fishing to help fight the dwindling fish stocks that have been exploited by overfishing and other anomalies along the beaches and bays,” said Nsimba.
He pointed out that the main challenges they face as cage fish farmers are the cost of feeds and the security of the fish cages.
Nsimba disclosed that reptiles like crocodiles and otters have also become security threats which at times break into the nets and feed on their fish stocks.
Nsimba urged youths and other stakeholders in Migori County to bring in more investors and funds to assist in setting up cage farms.
He pointed out that funds and grants will help make the venture become more successful and more profitable for the next generations that live along the lake regions.
Nsimba said Bay Rise is a sustainable aquaculture company that has created jobs for the youths and it has become a major source of fish from fishmongers.
He noted that cage fish farming is now being practised around the lake region with Siaya, Kisumu and Migori Counties being at the forefront to champion the venture that in recent times has attracted many investors.