At least Sh100 million has been set aside to kick start operations of a fish laboratory in Mombasa, one of three such facilities set up in the country at a total cost of Sh1 billion.
Fisheries Principal Secretary, Prof Micheni Ntiba, said that the facility would ensure fish sold to foreign markets was of high quality.
“The Lake Victoria fishery was closed to the European Union market for one and half years in 2009... that was when we committed to build these laboratories. We can now exploit our fish resources with the confidence that the products are of high quality,” he said, adding that the ministry was in the process of acquiring required accreditation to international standards.
The PS spoke on Tuesday when he launched the Mombasa laboratory and vessel monitoring system at the Fisheries offices in Mombasa.
The other two labs are in Kisumu and Nairobi.
The project, which was launched in October 2013, is funded by the Spanish and Kenyan governments.
The contract covered construction of a lab in Nairobi and two satellites in Mombasa and Kisumu.
The Mombasa facility will deal with marine fish products while the Kisumu one will handle fresh water fish products.
“The Nairobi lab will be a referral international facility with offering training and a conference centre with the objective of ensuring that all fish coming from this region of a high quality,” Prof Ntiba added.
Despite the industry's huge potential, fish exports account for only Sh2 billion of over Sh100 billion value of annual exports to the EU, with cut flowers, coffee, tea and vegetables taking up the bulk of exports.
Pro Ntiba said there were efforts to sensitise Kenyans on the health benefits of eating fish with the aim of raising local consumption from the current six kilogrammes of fish per person per year to 10 kilogrammes.