Entrepreneural Fingerling Production for Lake Victoria Fisheries – Moving Towards Distance Learning

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Commonwealth of Learning (COL)

PCF5 Sub-theme: Livelihoods // Many fishers on Lake Victoria depend on long line fishing using fingerling sized clarias, the traditional supply of which is wild-caught from the lake. This supply is however, intermittent and depends on the extent of the floating and drifting of the notorious water hyacinth masses near the shores with clarias being numerous under the growth. // Bait fishers suffer long hours of standing in unhealthy water but also use seine nets which are destructive to the spawning habitats of the native cichlids and is illegal, making bait fishers in constant conflict with the Fisheries Department. Consequently the three million daily requirement of bait fish is never met hence immense loss of livelihoods. // The Fingerling Production Project was initiated as a stop gap measure to the shortage of bait fish and wanton destruction of the spawns and their habitat. The project aims to build the capacities of fish farmers within organized clusters to produce fingerlings for bait as a farm enterprise, thus expand rural economic opportunities through increasing food, linkages between farmers, researchers and extensionists. // Moi University, Department of Fisheries & Aquatic Sciences being the technical arm, Fisheries Department the extension arm and WIFIP the community mobilization and organization arm have joined hands to carry out training through face to face approaches, print media – specifically posters and mobile phones for continuous communication, consultation and monitoring. // Early emerging challenges include; low survival rates of fingerlings, market linkages and pricing and high cost of maintaining mobile phones especially reloading and recharging. An unexpected outcome has been the high demand of fingerlings by fish farmers to produce fish for food rather than for bait. Though not the main aim of the project, the returns are good and farmers prefer it. The project is already showing great potential of improving rural livelihoods. The aspect of environmental conservation will be addressed as the intervention progresses. // Paper ID 592