Counties

Coast Guards to help tame illegal fishing in Lake Naivasha

COAST-BEACH

Kenya Coast Guard Service Officers take part during the International Coastal Cleanup Day at the Jomo Kenyatta Public Beach in Mombasa County. FILE PHOTO | NMG

Summary

  • The government has deployed officers from the Kenya Coast Guards to help fight illegal fishing activities in Lake Naivasha.
  • Deputy county commissioner Kisilu Mutua confirmed the arrival of the elite squad after months of running battles between police and illegal fishermen.
  • The squad is expected to, among other duties, patrol the lake in collaboration with other security agencies.

The government has deployed officers from the Kenya Coast Guards to help fight illegal fishing activities in Lake Naivasha.

Deputy county commissioner Kisilu Mutua confirmed the arrival of the elite squad after months of running battles between police and illegal fishermen.

The squad is expected to, among other duties, patrol the lake in collaboration with other security agencies.

“Illegal fishermen has become a menace to the fishing industry and efforts to weed them out in the past have been futile,” said Mr Mutua.

He said legitimate fish operators have been losing business due to illegal activities.

The illegal groups, according to Mr Mutua, were being bankrolled by unscrupulous traders.

The administrator assured of the government's commitment in bringing sanity to the lake, currently dominated by the illegal operators who also steal fishing gears.

“Legal fishermen were finding it difficult to operate due to the illegal activities by poachers,” he added.

David Kilo, a boat operator, hailed the move to post the guards, terming it “long overdue.”

Some of the fishermen have abandoned the trade due to the increasing cases of theft with one of them saying he lost fishing nets worth more than Sh200,000.

Fishing activities have come under sharp scrutiny from researchers, with some warning that the industry might not be sustainable in future owing to a number of factors, including over-fishing.

George Morara, a researcher at the Kenya Marine and Fisheries Research Institute (KMFRI), had called for strict controls to curb fishing on breeding grounds such as the Crescent Island, Oserian bay, Korongo bay and Malewa River mouth.

“The spawning stock is also being harvested as well as juvenile fish by some unscrupulous fishermen who cast their net in the breeding areas,” stated the researcher.