Fish prices to stay up as pressure on lakes persists
Posted Monday, April 30 2012 at 14:25
Fish consumers will continue to dig deeper into their pockets, with no signs that the price of tilapia will be coming down soon.
The Kenya Marine and Fisheries Research Institute (Kemfri) says increasing pressure on local sources will sustain price increases.
According to Kemfri assistant director Ojwang’ Oweke, the demand for fish is high, yet the catch from lakes is low.
“Apart from omena, stocks of other fish species have declined due to pollution and illegal fishing,” said Dr Oweke.
He asked more Kenyans to engage in fish farming as lakes were no longer able to meet demand.
Statistics by Enhanced Fish Market Information Services in Kenya, (EFMIS-Kenya) show that as the price per kilogramme of Nile perch and dagaa (omena) dropped by that of tilapia increased by Sh2 for the same quantity at landing sites.
The rise translates to an increase of up to Sh150 in the markets, especially at Lake Victoria.
The high cost of tilapia has been experienced since August last year when it ranged between Sh191 and Sh225.
It has now surpassed that of Nile perch, which was sold at Sh190 per kilogramme in February this year.
By the end of last month, a kilogramme of Nile perch sold at Sh174 while tilapia fetched Sh222 per kilogramme, up from the Sh107 in July 2009.
Ms Sarah Wanyingo, a fishmonger at Kisumu’s Oile Market, said the current price is the highest since she started selling fish four years ago.
“I think the price increase has been caused by the reducing number of fish in the lake,” she said.
She sells a 1.5 kilogramme tilapia at about Sh450. A 2.5-kilogramme fish at Lwang’ni beach in Kisumu sells for Sh900.
“It is only this year that I have gone to the beach only to find that there is no tilapia.
“All I get is mud fish, which gives us very little income. People don’t like mud fish and sometimes, it does not sell,” said the trader.
Ms Wanyingo said stocks of fish have been reducing because of pollution occasioned by drainage of raw sewage into the lake and the increasing number of industrial waste directed into the fresh water resource.
“The government should be strict in implementing the law on illegal fishing. Some fishermen still use illegal fishing gear.
“They harvest young fish and so it is hard for us to get mature fish from the lake,” she said.