Develop Technologies for Improving Productivity of Aquaculture

Improved Aquacultural Productivity Research Activity

Research Centre: Kenya Marine and Fisheries Research Institute (KEMFRI)

Principal Researcher: Dr. Domitila Kyule

Research Background:

The aquaculture annual production in Kenya had stagnated at around 1,000 tonnes but through consistent on-farm research, capacity building of farmers, and economic stimulus efforts, the production increased to 1,500 tonnes by 2015. The Department of Fisheries is promoting aquaculture as a means to eradicate poverty targeting to increase the annual production to about 12,000 tonnes over a three-year period.

In recent years, farmed fish has become important, and aquaculture is a source of white animal protein in many parts of Kenya. Aquaculture has spread to parts of the Rift Valley, Central and Eastern provinces which were previously not fish-producing areas. Small-scale commercial fish farmers earning upwards of KES 450,000 per acre of water surface have mushroomed in different parts of the country. Despite this growth,  this sub-sector has been constrained by the availability of quality and affordable feeds and a lack of access to quality fingerings.

Kenya Marine and Fisheries Research Institute (KEMFRI), as a co-applicant, has undertaken aquaculture research activities in this Action through a direct award. KMFRI has worked in collaboration with the Department of Fisheries to develop and commercialize high-quality fish feed and work out a system to supply quality fingerings to farmers. The following sub-activities were undertaken by the co-application in the action.

Research Objectives:

  • Development and increased supply (to farmers) of high-quality broodstock and fingerlings for Nile tilapia and Catfish.
  • Containing pollution and complying with food safety/SPS requirements.
  • Development of low-cost and high-quality feeds/feed formulation for improvement of fish nutrition in aquaculture.
  • Domestication, multiplication of indigenous fish species, and restocking them in their native environment to boost aquaculture.
  • Development and dissemination of information on smart climate smart aquaculture technology.


  1. Rear and mass produce (black soldier fly larvae-BSF) in the feeding formulation as an alternative animal protein source (to replace fish meal which is expensive and a human feed)

    1. Development of low quality fish feeds

      This output aimed to promote the utilization of insects for fish feed (mainly black soldier fly larvae-BSF meal) as an alternative animal protein source. In this activity, BSF larvae were produced, processed through drying and used for diet formulation. The trial experiment was done in Sagana research Centre using Clarias gariepinus. Fingerling ware produced through artificial propagation and nursed to fingerling size. Three earthen ponds were prepared by desiltation, compaction, liming and fertilization. Fingerlings of average weight 10g were stocked in cages in triplicates. Diet derived from BSF was formulated and prepared and used for the trial experiment.

    2. Production of Black Soldier Fly larvae

      A green house was constructed for the propagation of BSFL at KMFRI Sagana. The initial colony was procured from the international center for insect physiology and Ecology (ICIPE) Pig mature and market waste were used as the main substrate and food for the larvae. The larvae were dried and used for the experimental diet formulation.

    3. Experimental design

      Genetically improved African catfish, Clarias gariepinus were propagated and nursed in concreted at the Sagana Aquaculture research Centre using high protein commercial diet administered by automatic feeders. The fish were then used for the trial experiment. 30 juveniles of average weight 3.45±1.5 g and length 6.01±0.8 cm were randomly stocked in 12 cages measuring (3×2×1) m3. The fish were fed isoprotein (40% CP) diets with varying percentages of BSFL meal in triplicates. The fish are fed manually to satiation twice a day, at 10 am and at 4 pm. The diets are as indicated below.

  2. Output 2: High quality brood stock and fingerlings for Nile tilapia and Catfish developed and availed to farmers

    Selective breeding and backcrossing of Nile Tilapia and Catfish for improved growth was conducted. F8 Nile Tilapia was developed alongside F3 Catfish. Production of new strains and on-station multiplication was done and 30,000 improved seed were distributed to selected farmers in different counties (Nairobi, Meru, Kirinyaga, Makueni, Kiambu, Vihiga, Kakamega, Nakuru, Siaya and Homabay counties)

  3. Maintenance and multiplication of broodstock and fingerlings to supply to farmers

    Assessment of both the private hatcheries and government-owned hatcheries was done to establish their capacity for seed production and compliance to the existing Identification of 20 hatcheries as broodstock multiplication centres and centre empowerment through provision of linkages to hatcheries who will produce fingerlings for out-growers.Tilapia seed standard were developed and published in partnership with KEBS.

  4. Captive breeding and multiplication of endangered Tilapia jipe, Tilapia baringoensis and Labeo victorianus (ningu) and reintroduction into their habitats. Captive breeding and suitability assessment of Tilapia jipe, and Labeo victorianus was done whereby 2,200 pieces of broodstock for Jipe, Labeo, and Tilapia Baringoensis were collected and domesticated from the wild for spawning and production. Evaluation of suitability to cultural environment in the catchment areas of Taita Taveta, Baringo, and Kisumu conducted. On-farm spawning and multiplication of tilapia Jipe, Labeo and Tilapia baringoensis for adoption and restocking to their native environment was conducted and established.

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Improved Aquacultural Productivity