Local fish caught within the Kenyan waters brought in a whopping 24 billion shillings in 2018 according to stats compiled by the Kenya National Bureau of Statistics (KNBS).
The volumes of local fish rose by 4.5 percent from 22.95 billion shillings in 2017 to 24 billion shillings in 2018 despite calls on government to check on increasing imports from China.
There were concerns over fish imports from China which were said to be undermining the locally bred fish with calls on the government to ban the same.
In 2018, fish imports from China to Kenya increased by 11.8 percent with the country spending 1.7 billion shillings on them from 1.5 billion shillings in 2017.
In 2018, Kenya imported 22,362 tonnes of fish from China from 19,127 tonnes imported in 2017 with many Kenyans preferring the Chinese fish because of its affordability as compared to that from the Kenyan waters.
Kenya’s fresh waters produced fish worth 19.4 billion shillings, an increase from 18.6 billion shillings in 2017, and accounting for 81.0 percent of the total value from the local fish.
According to the Kenya National Bureau of Statistics, total fish output increased to 148,300 tonnes in 2018 from 135,100 tonnes in 2017.
61.1 percent of total fish came from Lake Victoria with an output of 98,200 tonnes in 2018 with the Indian Ocean producing 24,200 tonnes.
According to the government, Kenya still has an annual fish deficit of 365,000 tonnes against the annual demand of 500,000 tonnes which is filled through imports.
Most Kenyans have taken to fish farming with the majority of them carrying it on a small-scale basis, not enough to supplement the deficit. There is a huge market for fish in Kenya but the government has done little to support the sector.