Fishermen want agriculture ministry renamed to incorporate aquaculture

Beach managers have asked President William Ruto to include the fishing sector in his fiscal plans and rename the Ministry of Agriculture and Blue Economy to include Fisheries and Aquaculture.

Led by National Beach Management Units (BMU) Chairman Tom Guda, the fishermen claimed that the fishing industry contributes about 1 per cent of the national Gross Domestic Product (GDP) and about 2 per cent of the national export earnings thus it plays a very significant role that cannot be overlooked.

Guda said they feel unrecognized and unrepresented hence their appeal to have a distinct fisheries ministry or state department to address the fisherman’s ever increasing plight.

They claimed that failure to include a State Department for Fisheries and Aquaculture would undermine the advances the fisheries sector had made thus far.

“The sector employs over 60,000 fishermen directly and an estimated 1.2 million people indirectly,” he said.

Guda added that millions of Kenyans rely on fish as an affordable source of nutrition and that it is estimated that Kenya’s marine fishery has the potential to produce 150,000 metric tons to 300,000 metric tons of fish annually.

On arrest of Kenyan fishermen in Lake Victoria, Homabay BMU Chair Edward Oremo asked the President to use his bilateral relationship with Uganda to safeguard the local fisherman’s interests.

Migori BMU Chair John Odhiambo echoed Oremo’s thoughts and added that they were demanding a stop to the frequent harassment and arrest of Kenyan fishermen for alleged trespassing.

“We want to see Ruto’s shuttle diplomacy and bilateral relationship translate into creation of more wealth and jobs for our people and businesses to grow.” He said.

By Fredrick Odiero

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