Fish Farming Information


Is widely described as farming of aquatic organism including fish molluscs, crustaceans and aquatic plant. It involves some kind of farming intervention in the rearing process of aquatic organisms to enhance their production.

In Kenya, aquaculture is practiced under three management levels; extensive, semi-intensive and intensive systems.

Extensive system

This system utilizes the lowest management levels with very little or no input being directed into production. This level of management intensity is common for small-scale tilapia operations with limited capital or where high quality commercial feeds are unavailable. Fish in this system are usually stocked in earthen ponds, dams and large water reservoirs and left to feed for themselves with nutrients from the pond water.

The system therefore can only support low stocking densities. This level of production is economically viable only when land is cheap and pond construction costs are low or in cases where pond or water reservoir is used for other activities liking irrigation and cattle watering. In Kenya, extensive fish farming is usually practiced in public water reservoirs managed by organized groups of fish farmers.  

Semi-intensive System

This system forms the bulk of fish production units in Kenya accounting for over 70 percent of the total aquaculture production. In this system, the productivity of the ponds is improved by fertilizing with organic and inorganic fertilizers. Feeding is by use of cereal bran like rice and wheat and other locally available feeds. Rearing of more than one species in the same pond is common practice under this system where Tilapia (Oreochromisniloticus) and African Catfish (Clariusgariepinus)

Intensive System

In intensive system, the culture unit is an earthen or concrete pond. In this system, water supply and discharge are closely controlled. Fish are fed with nutritionally complete, formulated pelleted diet. Stocking densities are high. These densities are maintained by routine aeration. The system exercise greater environmental control and use of mechanization. Compared to extensive and semi-intensive, in Kenya, there are few farmers growing tilapia under intensive system. This can be attributed to the high capital and technology required in intensive farming. The system is mainly used for culture of rainbow trout in some parts of the country.

Selection of a suitable culture systems whether extensive, semi intensive, or intensive is determined by the availability of capital, the cost of labor, water, land as well as culture technology. In addition, the choice is also influenced by the farmer’s objective or determined by the circumstances or conditions which include; culture sites; infrastructure; environmental conditions especially climate, socio-economic factors, technological know-how and marketing potential.

First, a farmer would have to decide which method of farming he or she is willing to venture into. This will be determined by the resources available and the market. The question to ask yourself is “What resources do I have, what do I require and what does the market require?” These question will help you decide which type of fish to farm and also which method to use

Common farmed fish species in Kenya

 Nile Tilapia


Tilapia is a disease-resistant species, it is prolific breeders and reproduce easily under culture conditions, and it is mainly grown under semi intensive systems. The Optimum temperature of tilapia range from 27 to 300C.Tilapia is the most popular in Kenya and have a good market in world.


African Catfish


Catfish is a very  hardy and can survive in low oxygen waters it has the ability to breath atmospheric oxygen. Catfish grows very fast with availability of adequate high protein feed. It has few bones compare to tilapia therefore very good for making fillets. The optimal temperature for catfish ranges from 25 to 270C. it is mainly grown in semi intensive polyculture systems with tilapia. Catfish is slowly getting into the Kenyan market as people are starting to embrace it for its nearly boneless nature.



 Rainbow Trout

(Oncorhynchus mykiss)

Trout is a carnivorous fish which in natural waters consumes insects, crustacean and other small animals. It grows well in cool fast flowing waters of between 10 to18°C, with high oxygen content.Under culture conditions trout, requires a water flow rate of 1 L/min/kg without aeration. Trout is produced under intensive systems in tanks and raceways. It requires high quality feed with over 40 percent protein. Its fine bones and high fillet percentage makes trout excellent while smoked.



 Common carp

(Cyprinus carpio)

Common carp omnivore feeding on both plant and animal matter. It has a habit of feeding on organisms in the mud at the bottom of the pond making the pond water muddy. Common carp are grown under semi intensive systems and it attains a large size but does not usually overpopulate a pond. The optimum temperature for common carp ranges from 23 to 26OC. Despite common carp having a poor market in Kenya due to its intramuscular bones it is quit popular in Asia.




AAK is the National umbrella body of all fish farmers in Kenya.It was formed to bring together all fish farmers in Kenya with the sole purpose of providing them with one voice on common issues affecting them.

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P.O. Box 2786-00200
Tel: +254 726 717 949

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