By Faith Nyasuguta
The Kenyan National Assembly has confirmed that it intends to ban Chinese fish imports.
The new move is set to shield local fishermen and fisheries in the East African nation.
The assembly’s committee on Agriculture noted that it is set to abolish fish imports to Kenya in a bid to shield local fishermen among other fishing resources from international exploitation.
“We have to protect our resources and fishermen, who must get the maximum benefit out of the natural resources we have,” a committee member said.
Kenya reported a yearly fish production of 146,687 metric tonnes in 2019.
The figure included some 23,700MT from marine resources whereas 18,542MT came from aquaculture and 102,331 from freshwater production.
A May-August report from 2019 also showed that Kenyan waters held over 230 vessels with a bigger percentage owned by foreigners.
The report was commissioned by the Global Fish Watch tracker and it revealed that most of the vessels are owned by Italy, China, Taiwan and Hong Kong.
The ships recorded some 50,000 hours within the Kenyan water boundary.
The report among others also showed that local fishmongers were supplementing their stock with Chinese fish to meet fish demands.
Buyers also confirmed that imported fish is cheaper than those locally acquired.
In 2018, the issue of Chinese fish flooding Kenyan markets sparked diplomatic issues between Nairobi and Beijing immediately Kenya announced that state officials should curtail the imports.
However, Kenya has often experienced a shortage in fish necessitating the need for imports.