Saturday, March 2, 2024

Fish kill strikes Lake Victoria government heightens measures to help curb menace

Kisumu County has come up with new measures to help curb the mass death of fish and foul smell from the water mass.

Kisumu Governor Anyang’ Nyong’o said the county government had received reports from fishermen at different points in Kisumu East, Kisumu West and Seme Sub counties of dead fish, bad smell and discolored water.

“Fishermen have borne the brunt of the phenomenon by incurring massive economic loss,” he said.

At Othany beach in Seme Sub County, the investors reported losses estimated at Sh.40 million.

This prompted our officers from the departments of Fisheries and Environment to engage other experts on this matter seeking solution

Governor Nyong’o

The City Boss said there have also been reports of fish dying around the Pier, Usoma, Genge, Dunga among other beaches.

“This prompted our officers from the departments of Fisheries and Environment to engage other experts on this matter seeking solution,” disclosed Nyong’o.

KEMRI Research

Nyong’o said the County embarked on a fact finding mission between 10th to 17th October, 2022.

The research was undertaken by Kenya Marine and Fisheries Research Institute (KMFRI) in collaboration with other government agencies.

It involved reconnaissance, site observations, interviews, water quality parameter measurements and nutrient analyses.

“It was done along industrial and domestic point sources of pollution, river mouths, and a control point at mid-gulf point within Kisumu Bay,” said Nyong’o.

The Findings

From the reports, Lake Victoria could be experiencing effects of climate change. 

The research also found that algae blooms and water hyacinth plant that sunk to the bottom of the lake and has discomposed at the sediments.

In part the research reads; “Due to this phenomenon, the aquatic life can not survive hence the fish death and the foul smell from the waters.”

Nyong’o also said weather variants of between cool and hot conditions in the lake have fueled algae decomposition in low oxygen concentration.

This in turn produces higher levels of carbon dioxide, ammonia and hydrogen sulfide, compromising the quality of water.

Due to this, the lake is currently chocking with high nutrient loads resulting into algae bloom affecting the ecological imbalance in the waters.

I instruct entities mandated with environmental safety and safeguards to round up and prosecute individuals and owners of factories polluting our water bodies

Governor Nyong’o

Fighting Environmental Pollution

Nyong’o said his government is greatly concerned by the massive losses incurred by the cage fish farmers.

Nyong’o appealed to the fish farmers to ensure proper and scientific disposal of the dead fish to avoid further pollution.

He said there is great concern following continued pollution of the lake despite past interventions.

“I instruct entities mandated with environmental safety and safeguards to round up and prosecute individuals and owners of factories polluting our water bodies,” asserted Nyong’o.

According to Nyong’o, tougher legislations both in the National and County Assemblies will help deal with Environmental pollution.

He said Lake Victoria is a victim of industrial run-off upstream,

Adding;”I also wish to instruct officers at the department of environment to tighten surveillance to ensure compliance by local industries.”

Government Intervention

Speaking during a press conference in Kisumu, the Governor revealed that his government will procure fingerlings worth Sh.2 million and fish feed worth Sh.1 million.

These will be distributed  to the affected fish farmers to help them restock  and recover  the loses.

The county department of water and Environment will kick off a multi-stake holders approach to address pollution of the lake.

“We want to engage stakeholders on how to save Lake Victoria by first addressing pollution,” Nyong’o added.

Nyong’o also said the county plans an assessment of the capacity of the lake in regard to siting (location) of cage installation and compliance with set guidelines on proper siting of cages

“We champion continued vigilance in management and treatment of waster waters, dealing with pollutants and effluents in consideration to fish and human health.”

He said the County will also consider restocking the lake with indigenous species through a targeted breeding program.

Lake Victoria

According to Governor Nyong’o, the lake is a source of livelihood to millions of people in the Lake Region Economic Bloc.

“As Kisumu, Victoria is one of our biggest geographical identities,” he noted.

Statistics show that the lake directly supports an estimated 3,758 fisher folks operating 1,466 fishing vessels along the 41 landing sites.

Over 80,000 households depend on the fisheries sector for income.

The lake which borders three East African Countries, has high fish species diversity of economic and ecological importance.

Nyong’o added:”The annual fish production is estimated to be 1,965 tons, valued at Ksh. 318,030,207.

The Lake offers employment to many people and help supplement  fish supplies in the market.

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