Fisheries Sector Profile in Kenya
Fisheries sector is a major employer in the country with at least 80,000 fishermen and fish farmers directly. The sector also provides livelihoods for about 2.3 million Kenyans involved mainly in fish processing and trade.
In the inland waters, Lake Victoria is leading in fish production at 143,908 metric tons followed by Lake Turkana at 4,559 metric tons annually.
The fishing industry is currently earning the country approximately 6.5 billion Kenya shillings and 0.5% of GDP.
The fisheries sector is relatively young in export trade, compared to Kenya’s traditional primary export sub-sectors such as agriculture.
However, Nile perch remains the main-stay of fisheries export market and account for over 80% of fish export in quality and valve (4.5billion Kenya shillings)
Aquaculture has grown exponentially in the last 5 years with an annual growth of 10% per annum, being one of the fastest growing sub-sectors in the country. Fish export from Kenya is currently contributing KES 4,200,000,000 (US $ 49,008,452) in foreign exchange earnings and the domestic trade in fish and fish products is valued at KES 19,470,579,000 (US $ 227,195,952). In total, the fisheries sector contributes 0.5% to the GDP.
Key strength of fisheries sector
Cheap labor with highly trained professionals in fisheries
- Availability of sources of fish including Lake Victoria, the second largest fresh water lake in the world
- The strong growth in the fishing sub-sectors and its exports supported by continued government support for the sector.
- Availability of local, regional and international markets for Kenyan fish and fish products
- Geographical proximity to the leading fish import markets including Europe and the
- Well-developed infrastructure i.e. air and road transport.
- The large variety of fish species available
- High standards of hygiene policy maintained in fish processing applied by the sub-sector regulatory authorities
- Availability of a regulatory framework under the department of fisheries to regulate and facilitate growth in the sector
Challenges faced with fisheries sector in Kenya
- Declining fish stocks in the natural water bodies
- Conflict between various users of fisheries resources
- Cross-border fishing and trade conflict
- Fish marketing, especially the EU export market
- Fish quality and post harvest issues.
- Low funding levels for the Ministry.
- Low stakeholders participation
- Investment in deep sea fishing logistics including technical support
- Financing fish processing plants
- Production of suitable packaging materials for packing fish for export
- Dry /smoked fish
- Marketing of ornamental fish species
- Manufacturing of valve added fish products for the local and export markets
- Production of fish feeds
- Development of a fully-fledged fish processing industry and particularly setting up of Tuna factories.