Government to set up US$10m fish hatchery to boost fishing sector

KENYA – The government of Kenya has unveiled plans of establishing a US$10 million (Sh1 billion) marine hatchery in Kwale, in the coast region, as part of its efforts to boost the country’s fishing industry.

According to the Kenya Marine Fisheries and Research Institute (KMFRI), the fish hatchery will be set up at Shimoni and is part of the blue economy initiative to address challenges of food security at the coast and across the country, reports Business Daily.

James Njiru, KMFRI director unveiled that the government had so far injected US$2 million (Sh200million) into the fingerling production facility whose construction has started, while the remaining funds will be released in phases.

“The project has already started and the mariculture station is at the first floor. We discovered there are no hatcheries in the region that produces fingerlings for aquaculture so the project seeks to fill this gap,” he said.

Prof Njiru said that the investment also seeks to promote use of certified fingerlings amongst farmers in a bid to improve production. “The fingerlings farmers use are not certified. This becomes a challenge, especially for those who farm in ponds,” he highlighted.

The research institute says once operational, the project will ensure steady supply of seeds and feeds for sustainable aquaculture, leading to expansion of marine fish farming.

“The biggest challenge has been in supply of seeds and feeds but with the project up and running, it will address the problem alongside efficient sorting out of fingerlings to weed out predators,” Prof Njiru added.

KMFRI acquired a 25-acre piece of land that will be used to establish efficient procurement system for seeds and feeds to ensure fish farming is sustainable.

He said that the research institute has cited lack of quality seeds and feeds as the main setback which has denied fishermen opportunity to create wealth through the enterprise.

“If tapped well, fish farming can have better economic and social outcomes for farmers. This is the reason we want to put up this project to fight poverty and food insecurity,” he said

Speaking on the sidelines of a meeting between KMFRI and a Belgian team that has partnered with the institute in marine and fisheries research, farmers also welcomed the project saying lack of hatcheries causes them big losse .

The partnership between Kenya and Belgium saw the country receive an oceanographic vessel “RV Mtafiti” which was handed over to KMFRI to conduct deep-sea research.

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