Kwale fishermen urge government to construct cold storage facilities

Idle fishing boats at the Gasi landing site in Kwale county on a windy day.Fishermen say a coldstore room will ensure they have stock to sell during such days PHOTO JANET MURIKIRA

Kwale,KENYA: Fishermen in Kwale county want the government to construct cold storage facilities to minimize wastage.

Speaking to Baraka FM  on Monday,  Juma Said Mkuu who is the chairman of the Gasi beach management unit in Kwale county says currently their fishing is limited despite having embraced modern fishing gear that has helped increase their catch.

“Fish are highly perishable and if you don’t manage to sell all your catch within one day you encounter losses,” Juma told Baraka FM.

Juma says cold storage facilities will also ensure that fishermen in the area have a constant flow of income since they can have stock to sell when its windy and the fishing waters are unfavorable.

The fishermen from Gasi which is one of the areas which produces the highest number of fish in the county embraced the modern ring net fishing, says one vessel using the ring net fishing method can catch up to 200 kg of fish in one day trip while a night trip fetches up to 300 kg of fish.

“We don’t have a   cold storage facility in Kwale and the nearest cold storage facility is in Kisauni and at times its costly to transport the fish to Kisauni,” Juma says.

Juma cited the entry of Chinese imported fish into the market to lack of adequate storage facilities that can help store enough fish to sustain the market during days when the tides are rough.

Last year the Kwale county government donated motorized boats that can accommodate up to 30 fishermen and ring net fishing gear to BMU’s in the county in an effort to tap into the lucrative fishing industry in the area.

However, the former Agriculture CS Willy Bett told journalists last year during the international fisheries day that fishermen could benefit from projects worth sh. 16 billion pumped into the industry by International Fund for Agriculture development.