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Kenya Marine Center delves into new venture

Import – Export

2018 has seen us fully delve into a new venture; fresh water fish export. This has seen us travel many miles, as far as Lake Victoria to the south, to source for our fresh water so as to ensure that we have the capability to provide a wide variety of quality fish for our customers. L. Victoria and small water bodies in the L. Victoria basin have numerous indigenous colorful fish which have never been exploited for ornamental fish business. We therefore feel that our exploitation of those water bodies will provide a wide variety of aquarium fish to the trade.

Freshwater ornamental fish culture is fast emerging as a major branch of aquaculture globally. In Kenya, this industry is still at its infancy stage accounting for only 3% of fish under aquaculture in Kenya. The Kenya Marine and Fisheries Institute estimates there to be about 20,600 pieces fresh water ornamental fish in the country.

Our country has many indigenous fish species with great potential of being ornamental fish especially the fresh water Cichlids Haplochromis spp. found in the Lake Victoria basin i.e. Haplochromis nubilus, Haplochromis sp. “blue obliquidens, Haplochromis sp. “Kenya gold”, Haplochromis sp. “carp”, Neochromis omnicaeruleus, Pseudocrenilabrus multicolor victoriae, Pundamilia nyererei and Astatoreochromis alluaudi. The freshwater ornamental fish trade is however dominated by the non-indigenous species comprising of Gold fish (Carassius auratus), Koi carps (Cyprinus carpio) and Mollies (Poecilia spp.)

Freshwater ornamental fish production here is majorly done in captivity whereby fish farmers propagate and rear the fish in ponds, hapas and tanks. Farmed species are dominated by the Cichllidae and Cyprinidae. This includes different varieties of Gold fish (Carassius auratus), Koi carps (Cyprinus carpio) and Mollies (Poecilia spp.). The varieties of goldfish farmed include Black moor, Bubble eye, Fantail, Oranda, Lion head, yellowcomet. As exporters, ourmain supply is from wild collection. However, whilst our fish is wild caught; in order to ensure variety, we also work together with local ornamental fish farmers spread out all over the country so as to maximize our stock.

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