Scientists Raise Alarm Over Quality of Kenyan Fish

MoH has warned on fish hawked along Nairobi-Nakuru highway.
The public health department has warned about fish hawked along the Nairobi-Nakuru highway.

Scientists are now racing against the clock to upend the production of fish after cartels infiltrated the industry-leading to poor-quality products.

Since 2000, the country has experienced a steady decline in the quality of production, with the annual quantity decreasing from 250,000 metric tonnes to slightly over 124,000 metric tonnes.

According to the scientists from the University of Eldoret (UoE), the cartels were duping fish farmers with fake seeds which then lead to poor production.

So far, the fish industry is valued at Ksh25 billion annually.

A plate of fish and green vegetables
A plate of fish and green vegetables.

"Currently, Kenya is producing about 124,000 metric tonnes of fish. This is a drop from (the year) 2000 when we used to have over 250,000 tonnes of fish," stated Christopher Mulanda, the Director of the Kenya Medical Research Institute (KEMRI).

The scientists are also worried that the water pollution across the country is leading to poor production.

Globally, it is estimated that the amount of plastic waste pollution in the global ocean would surpass the number of sea creatures.

UoE Aquatic Scientist, Phillip Raburu, noted fish seeds were crucial in determining the quality but cartels had infiltrated the trade and continuously sold fingerlings to farmers in place for actual fish.

"We have to know how long it will take to grow. That is controlled by genetics. We have to know are the seeds male only?

"There are people who are even cheating farmers. They go to the lake, or along the swamps and they get fingerlings and sale them at the same price. When you go and put them in a pond, they will not grow first," he stated.

At the beginning of May, Kenyans were cautioned about the health hazards posed by fish hawked along the busy Nairobi - Nakuru highway. 

In an interview with, the Secretary-General of Kenya Association of Food Safety And Protection (KAFSAP), Juliana Kiio, discouraged consumers from purchasing the product, adding that most vendors do not adhere to the correct food preservation methods. 

She further brought to light the risk of the fish being contaminated before it is sold.

An image of a fisherman
A fisherman casting his net in Lake Victoria.
  • .