International Journal of
Fisheries and Aquaculture

  • Abbreviation: Int. J. Fish. Aquac.
  • Language: English
  • ISSN: 2006-9839
  • DOI: 10.5897/IJFA
  • Start Year: 2010
  • Published Articles: 227

Full Length Research Paper

Socio-economic characteristics of fish workers in Western Kenya

Edward Olale1 and Spencer Henson2
  1New Brunswick Department of Agriculture, Aquaculture and Fisheries, 850 Lincoln Road, Fredericton, New Brunswick, E3B 9H8, Canada. 2Department of Food, Agricultural and Resource Economics, University of Guelph, 50 Stone Road East Guelph, Ontario, N1G 2W1 Canada.
Email: [email protected]

  •  Accepted: 03 March 2012
  •  Published: 31 August 2012



This paper analyzes and discusses the socio-economic characteristics of fish workers, with a focus on those based on the Kenyan shores of Lake Victoria. In particular, the paper considers the characteristics of fish workers in general and by type of fish work, beach location and income diversification strategy. Although, many characteristics of the fish workers were identified, six characteristics stood out: (1) 20% of the fish workers had secondary education, while 80% had primary or no formal education; (2) a fish worker had an average of seven dependents; (3) 98% of the fishers were males, while 83% of fish traders were females; (4) around 26% of fish workers had diversified their income; (5) 64% of the fish workers lived below the poverty line; and (6) fish workers who diversified income had lower incidence and depth of poverty. The results implied that income diversification is a potential way out of poverty among fish workers. 


Key words: Fish workers, socio-economic characteristics, poverty, income diversification.