EMPTY NETS

Concerns over acute shortage of fish in Lake Baringo

Most fishermen and traders have abandoned the venture

In Summary

• Fishermen now catch between five and six fish a day.

• Situation blamed on climate change, which has led to flooding.

Fisherman Joshua Chepkor casts his net in Kampi ya Samaki, Lake Baringo, on Thursday.
Fisherman Joshua Chepkor casts his net in Kampi ya Samaki, Lake Baringo, on Thursday.
Image: JOSEPH KAGOGO
An empty shed in Kampi ya Samaki, Lake Baringo on Thursday.
An empty shed in Kampi ya Samaki, Lake Baringo on Thursday.
Image: JOSEPH KAGOGO
Fishmongers display their fish in Kampi ya Samaki, Lake Baringo, on Thursday.
Fishmongers display their fish in Kampi ya Samaki, Lake Baringo, on Thursday.
Image: JOSEPH KAGOGO
Ziporah Yator at her empty fish kiln in Kampi ya Samaki, Lake Baringo, on Thursday.
Ziporah Yator at her empty fish kiln in Kampi ya Samaki, Lake Baringo, on Thursday.
Image: JOSEPH KAGOGO

Fishermen in the flooded Lake Baringo have raised concerns over acute fish shortage.

 Fisherman Joshua Chepkor said on Thursday he was contemplating  quitting fishing just like most of his colleagues.

“My colleagues have stopped fishing and engaged in other income generating activities. I also plan to quit,” Chepkor said.

He said they catch a paltry five to six fish or none per day. Previously, he said, they used to catch between 40 and 50 fish per day.

Chepkor said he solely relies on fishing to feed, clothe his family and pay his children school fees. “I get so discouraged casting my net and ending up going home empty-handed” Chepkor said.

The situation is largely blamed on the serious climate change which  has led to flooding.

The water level in Lake Baringo is still high due to heavy rains experienced between April and September last year.

Due to shortage of fish, traders especially women, have quit the business.

“I use to sell between 200 and 300 tilapia daily to local clients and visitors but I closed shop since fishermen failed to supply me with the commodity,” fishmonger Ziporah Yator said.

She said they used to sell the fish surplus to Nairobi, Nakuru, Kabarnet, Marigat and Eldoret towns.

County fisheries officer Matthias Boswony said there were thousands of fish in the lake by November and December last year. “A large population of people was displaced by floods and majority lost their sources of income to feed their families therefore ended up relying solely on fishing," he said

Boswony said modern fishing methods would have helped save the situation.

“The local fishermen were left to freely use crude methods of fishing hence ending up wasting and killing immature fish,” he said.

Boswony said it has been long since the lake was restocked with new fingerlings.  

But Agriculture, Livestock and Fishers executive Thomas Ole Nongonop said the lake has recorded a high fish landing.

“In fact currently there is more fish in Lake Baringo compared to January and February 2020,” he said.

Nongonop said lungfish is the dominant species while Tilapia landing is on decline.

He said his department is planning to restock the lake.