• There have been cases where Kenyan fishermen are arrested by Ugandan authorities for fishing in their territory and around Migingo Island.
• Kenya has six per cent of the lake, with 45 and 49 per cent in Uganda and Tanzania respectively.
Fisheries Principal Secretary Micheni Ntiba has directed Kenyan fishermen to stop fishing in Uganda and Tanzania without a licence to avoid conflicts.
He said on Tuesday Kenya has six per cent of the lake, which fishermen should use prudently. Uganda and Tanzania have 45 and 49 per cent respectively.
“If you wish to fish in other countries' waters, then you must make sure you get a licence. Don’t go there to poach because if you are caught you will face the law,” Ntiba said.
Ntiba asked fishermen to get licensing from the Kenya Fisheries Services working with the county governments to fish within the country.
“We should not say we have a small part because we have a huge catchment and many rivers feeding into the lake, a very productive part of our lake,” he said.
He spoke during the signing of a performance contract with Aquaculture Business Development Programme coordinator Sammy Macaria on the Sh15 billion programme in Kisumu.
There have been cases where Kenyan fishermen are arrested by Ugandan authorities for fishing in their territory and near Migingo Island.
Ntiba said the East Africa Community has plans to develop modalities like other countries in the world that will enable harmonious fishing activities in the lake.
“Our Kenya Marine and Fisheries Research Institute, together with those of Uganda and Tanzania, must conduct research to tell us how much fish is harvestable in the lake each year,” he said.
The institute, he said, has mapped the lake and knows where to put the cages instead of breeding points, transport route, and where fishermen are to avoid conflicts.
Ntiba said once they know how much fish is harvestable, the three countries would develop a mechanism of how much fish can be harvested in Kenya, Uganda, and Tanzania.
This, he said, is in line with the international allowable catch that is partitioned by countries. The PS said such a mechanism will prevent conflict between the neighbouring countries.
Ntiba called for the immediate stop to the use of cages in Lake Victoria, unless approved by the government. Many cages were placed without government knowledge since the inception of devolution, he said.
“Let's not put more cages on the lake without my authority. I would like to know who has what cages in that lake,” Ntiba said.
“This must stop. We must know which cages are there. The lake is not a dead thing but a living breathing thing. It will die if we choke it as we are watching."
He said approvals would allow easy management so that in case of an eventuality, the government is able to know which cages to shift. He directed Fisheries executives from the lake region counties to work closely with residents to control cages.
Ntiba called on counties to survey the cages in collaboration with the Kenya Marine and Fisheries Research Institute.