Fish Farming in Kenya an Expert Analysis

Fish farming in Kenya promotes a meal that boosts better brain functioning. Well, if you converse with Kenyans you will realize that they relate fish delicacies to result in better brain work.

Of course, they are not wrong to hold such an opinion because based on scientific findings omega 3 oils found in fish does increase brain memory. I bet you know what to order next time you realize you’re being forgetting things.

In this article, I will take you through important developments in fish farming on the ground in Kenya.

In the end, it is my hope that you will have a better understanding of the fish industry in the country. And even propose sustainable solutions to fish farming in Kenya.

Let’s now narrow down on Kenyans and their fish-eating habits as it relates to fish farming. Do so I have researched the following four points. That you need to know.

Must read: Mushroom Farming in Kenya.

An Expert Analysis of Fish Farming In Kenya

Facts around fish-farming in Kenya

Fish farming in Kenya has developed over the years. So to keep you updated with the turn-up of events I have highlighted the realities facing fish farming in Kenya. As stated below.

  1. As of 2018, Kenya produces 137,000 metric tonnes of fish per year. And exported  37,000 metric tonnes.
  2. Kenyan fish farmers have increased fish consumption among local households.
  3.   In  2013, an average Kenyan consumed 1 kilogram of fish per year. Flash forward to 2018, an average Kenyan consumes 4.9 kilograms of fish per year.
  4. Fish farming contributed 0.54 percent of the overall GDP to Kenya’s as of 2013.
  5. A total of 129,300 Kenyans directly benefited from fish farming and aquaculture inform of employment by 2013.
  6. When it comes to the source of water used for fish farming in Kenya, the findings were that: 13,100 used coastal waters, 67900  practiced fish farming from home while 48,300 used inland waters.
  7. efforts to improve fish farming in Kenya, the Government has signed the 1982 UN Convention on the Law of the sea, 1995 Fish Stocks Agreement and the Port State Measures Agreement of 2019.

You may also be interested in how to start a farming business in Kenya.

Methods of Fish Farming in Kenya

Well, fish farming is a venture that traces of roots hundreds of years ago. Way before the colonial era when Kenya’s early inhabitants were hunters and gatherers.

Historically,  fishing was as a supplementary activity that would contribute to the breadbasket. Rarely would communities do fish farming as a main economic venture.

Also, note that fish in the Pre-colonial eras of Kenya was used as a trading commodity for one to acquire what they didn’t have. This is trading process is popularly known as barter trade.

Today, Fish farming is not just a part-time activity but rather can be a full-time venture done on a large scale basis requiring full-time participation from the farmer.

Here is a list of the leading fishing methods in Kenya :

  1. Freshwater pond fishing
  2. Integrated fish farming
  3. Brackishwater finfish culture
  4. Mariculture fish farming

Freshwater Pond Fishing

This type of fishing method is characterized by domesticating a particular fish breed in either a natural or artificial pond.

Freshwater fish pond method dates back to as early as 14BC and as such has undergone numerous improvements over time.

Initially, fish pond farming was only carried out in stagnant water. But with new improvements fish pond farming can be utilized in moving waters under specific techniques. This specific technique controls the movement of fish not to be lost with moving waters.

Related: Dairy Farming in Kenya.

If planning to employ the fish pond fish farming methods then the following six points will benefit you.

  1. On average, experts advise that a fish pond should range between 2-0.5 Ha of land. This maximizes the yields of fish.
  2. A fertilizer with a mixture of lime may be used to promote the growth of fish feeds in the pond. Please consult an expert before applying this.
  3. Pesticides also may be applied to finish water pests that feed on fish feeds in the pond. Again, consult an expert before acting.
  4. Fishpond cropping, which is the planting of crops that are eaten within the pond should be done frequently. This is after observing that the crops in the pond have been exhausted.
  5. Supplementary feeding that has protein, carbohydrates and other important nutrients should be applied frequently.
  6. Pond and  Water level of 1 meter is considered ideal for tilapia, cramps, and shrimps. Milkfish and mudfish can thrive in water levels of 40-60 cm.

Integrated fish farming

This is a  type of fish farming that happens when fish farming is done at the same time with crops and even animals in the same water body.

Crops and animals integrated into fish farming. Two major the crops used for integrated fish farming

  1. Rice
  2. Vegetables

While on the other hand, the most integrated animals during fish farming are :

  1. Ducks
  2. Pigs

Integrated fish farming provides what we call a symbiotic benefit.

Animals and plants benefit from each other, wastes from ducks and pigs are used by the fish as food. While both the fish, ducks, and pigs feed on crops planted in the used water.

Read also: Poultry farming in Kenya.

Note: Integrated fish farming has not picked up well in Kenya. Based on the fact that integrated fish farming utilizes space by farming a variety of things at once this method appeals to thrive in Kenya.  

Brackishwater finfish culture

Also known as coastal aquaculture, brackishwater finfish fishing culture is rapidly growing and plays a critical role in providing Kenyans with seafood.

The target customers for Brackishwater finfish culture are hotels and outlets that mostly serve tourists among other foreigners.

Brackishwater finfish culture has not been embraced widely in Kenya. This is because end products are lobsters, crabs and shrimps are not widely eaten in the country.

This method of fish farming requires good water vessels that can go deep into the sea. This is the reason why this method is unpopular in Kenya.

Note: with public awareness of brackishwater fish culture, the Kenyan public at the coast might embrace this fishing method widely. 

Mariculture fish farming

In simple terms, mariculture fish farming is practicing aquaculture in deep marine environments.

Mariculture fish farming controls the burden overfishing as they lead to preserving traditional fish.

Note: With the rapid growth of Kenya’s population, it is advised by experts on food security that Mariculture should be embraced as a sustainable solution to fish farming.

Categories of  fish found in Kenya

There are two categories of fish in Kenya. That is the freshwater and saltwater fish.

Freshwater fish type

You need to first understand that Freshwater is found in rivers, some lakes, and large ponds away from the sea.

Freshwater bodies have their own types of fish uniquely adapted to survive in these waters.

The following list highlights the type of fish found in Kenya’s freshwater lakes.

List of freshwater fish in Kenya

  1. Nile Perch
  2. Tilapia
  3. Silver cryptid (Omena )

Nile Perch

The Nile Perch is traceable along with freshwater bodies like L. Victoria and other big rivers.

Characteristics of the Nile Nile Perch

  • Large-mouthed fish
  • It can be greenish or brownish on the upper side with silverish traits on the lower side.
  • On full maturity, the Nile perch grow up to 1.8metres long and can weigh up to 140 kilograms.
  • One unique feature of the Nile Perch is that it has an elongated body and a protruding jaw.

Note: L.Victoria is famous for having the Nile Perch in Kenya.


Tilapia is easy to raise because of being resistant to diseases and grows fast. This makes them better for commercial purposes.

Tilapias feed on algae that is easy to find.

Note: Tilapia fish are on-demand in Kenya. This has led to overfishing across the country. The tilapia could be extinct in Kenya through measures that are not taken. 

Silver cryptid (Omena )

Also, know as the L.Victoria Sadine or the dagga, the Omena is a darling in many Kenyan homes.

The silverfish is the size of the small finger and has rays on the fins.

Note: The menus rich in calcium.

Challenges Facing Fish Farmers in Kenya

  1. The high cost of feeds
  2. Lack of quality fingerlings
  3. Poor extension  services from the Fisheries department
  4. Lack of enough skills to facilitate professional fish farming.
  5. Use of outdated and old boats.
  6. Harassment of Kenyan fishermen and women on Lake Victoria by border police from Uganda.
  7. Lack of a fish farmers’ cooperative or movement to advocate for their welfare.

Kenya having enough water bodies like rivers, Lakes, and access to the Indian Ocean puts her in a  better position to succeed in Fish Farming.

Again when we look at the entrepreneurial spirit among Kenyans the thought of  Kenya influencing the global fish market becomes clear.

Best read: Beginner’s guide on Tomatoes farming in Kenya.

Kenya should channel her efforts in improving fish farming as an avenue to achieve food security as stated in the big four agenda.

Professionalism in the fish farming sector on the side of fish farmers still remains low. They need to strongly digitize fish farming practices.

Overall, fish farming in Kenya lacks decades behind. Even though the need for fish consumption has evolved.

It is important and urgent for fish farming in Kenya to under revamping to ensure the relevance of the industry in modern Kenya.

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Amanullah is not your average writer, he understands concepts and turns ideas into words. He is a fan of characters and likes to play with letters in the alphabet.

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