- The lake has over 200 licensed fishermen
- Number of illegal fishermen on the rise
The fisheries department, Beach Management Units and the Kenya Coast Guards Service have now agreed to hold joint patrols in Lake Naivasha.
After months of differences, the three agencies have formed a multi-agency team to stem the rising number of illegal fishermen in the lake.
This came amid reports that cases of illegal fishing have dropped sharply as the county announced plans to restock the troubled water body.
For the last two months, the two government agencies had fallen out over patrols with each accusing the other of working alone and engaging illegal poachers secretly.
Naivasha subcounty fisheries officer Nicholas Kagundu confirmed the new working relationship, adding that this would help restore sanity in the lake.
He said under the new venture, members of BMUs would be involved in the patrols which were meant to deal with the rising number of illegal fishermen.
“All patrols around the lake will be conducted by the multi-agency team and so far we have seen major changes in fish prices and catch,” he said.
Kagundu added that plans were at an advanced stage to restock the lake with fingerlings as one way of boasting fish catch.
“The county in the coming financial year has set aside funds for restocking and we are working closely with the fishermen to make this a success,” he said.
On the reported drop in fish catch mainly among the Tilapia species, he termed this as normal, adding that there was an increase in Common carp species.
“The drop in one species is normal though we are engaging the fishermen to change the size of the nets they are using so that they can give the Tilapia species a chance to reproduce,” he said.
Lake Naivasha and Oloidien boat owners’ association chairperson Grace Nyambura said patrols around the lake were crucial to the fisheries sector in the lake.
She claimed previously illegal gangs working with the support of the officers from the coast guards had taken over the lake stealing their catch and vandalising nets.
She added that the situation had been worsened by the ongoing drought which had seen water levels drop by the day, adversely affecting the breeding grounds for the fish.
“Very little water is flowing into the lake and this could have adverse effects on breeding while some people have encroached on the riparian land wiping out the vegetation,” she said.