Drop in Kenyan fish production and trade linked to COVID impacts

Posted By Stop Illegal Fishing:4th Aug, 2020

The COVID-19 pandemic has given rise to considerable challenges in Kenya, and the fisheries sector has been hard hit. There are over 13,000 fishers, and over 100,000 people involved in the upstream value chain, including aquaculture, processing, and trade. These are activities where women play a key role.

 

Kenyan aquaculture has boomed in recent years and plays an increasingly important role in national fish supply. The Kenya Marine and Research Fisheries Institute reported in 2017 that Kenya is ranked as the fourth major producer of aquaculture in Africa, with 2014 production of 24,096 metric tonnes. However, the aquaculture fish trade depends on active tourism in Kenya and COVID restrictions meant that most restaurants and accommodation ceased operations particularly within the coastal counties.

 

Seaweed farming, mostly undertaken by women, has also been negatively impacted by COVID. Social distancing coupled with the NorthEast Monsoon winds effects meant that farmers were not able to attend their farms. Routine trainings and sensitization support to farmers by government and other partners were also stopped due to staff downsizing and restricted movements. Closure of the border between Kenya and Tanzania has hindered some seaweed exporters from importing some farm inputs to support farmers as well as export of seaweed seeds to Tanzania.

 

Women entrepreneurs in fisheries, known as mama karanga, typically retail fried fish in the evenings (between 16:00 to 21:00) in market centres within the coastal towns and villages. They buy fresh fish from the beaches or fresh fish retailing shops and fry for sale. The introduction of a curfew and cessation of movement led to reduced trading ours and reduced income. Many traders have had to suspend their operations.

Drop in Kenyan fish production and trade linked to COVID impacts

Trading fish at Mtwapa, Mombasa

 

Early COVID-19 measures included the closure of all Kenya border points, stopping all cross border fish trade. The closure of the Kenya/Tanzania border has impacted Kenyan traders who import fresh fish products for fish processing establishments.

 

Fish production has reduced immensely as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic coupled with the onset of the low fishing season (kusi). During March and April 2020 there were no fish imports into the country. However, the importers had imported a lot of fish in the preceding months. It is estimated that the stock of imported fish, most of which is from China, can sustain the country for about three months.

 

 

Recent Posts

Committee on Fisheries Thirty-fourth Session

1-5 February 2021 Rome, Italy For more information go to: http://www.fao.org/about/meetings/cofi/documents-cofi34/en/

Read More...

SADC Secretariat, Member States and partners, SIF and WWF take stock on progress in implementation of SDG 14

Sustainable development goal 14 (SDG 14) concerning life below water is a priority...

Read More...

Vessel Inspection: Fisheries Enforcement Phrase Book

Communication between fisheries inspectors and the master and crew of fishing vessels during...

Read More...

SIF News Categories

The Issues

One in four fish in Africa is caught illegally, this threatens the sustainability of fish stocks, damages the ecosystem and deprives governments of income and people of livelihoods.

Find Out More...

Our Approach

Creating change by informing policy and practice, our hands on experience and investigative work means we are often the first to spot new trends and find ways to challenge these.

Read More...

Our Initiatives

Illegal fishing is a complex issue that requires multifaceted responses. Stop Illegal Fishing are working with a range of organisations to bring about change.

Find Out More...

Recent Posts

Committee on Fisheries Thirty-fourth Session

1-5 February 2021 Rome, Italy For more information go to: http://www.fao.org/about/meetings/cofi/documents-cofi34/en/

Read More...

SADC Secretariat, Member States and partners, SIF and WWF take stock on progress in implementation of SDG 14

Sustainable development goal 14 (SDG 14) concerning life below water is a priority...

Read More...

Vessel Inspection: Fisheries Enforcement Phrase Book

Communication between fisheries inspectors and the master and crew of fishing vessels during...

Read More...