KRA AND IMMIGRATION

Coast Guard patrols Lake Victoria, fights illegal fishing

Officers fight smuggling and harassment of Kenyan fishermen by security officials from Uganda and Tanzania

In Summary

• They crack down on illegal fishing, use of illegal nets, unseaworthy vessels and fight pollution in Lake Victoria.

• Joined by KRA and Immigration officers, they also fight smuggling through porous borders and protect Kenyan fishermen from harassment by Ugandan, Tanzanian officers.

Kenya Coast Guard officers led by Lieutenant Bernard Mibei remove confiscated illegal fishing gear - undersized nets - at Homa Bay Pier Beach in Homa Bay on October 14.
COAST GUARD: Kenya Coast Guard officers led by Lieutenant Bernard Mibei remove confiscated illegal fishing gear - undersized nets - at Homa Bay Pier Beach in Homa Bay on October 14.
Image: ROBERT OMOLLO

@robertomollo3

The Kenya Coast Guard is patrolling Lake Victoria, cracking down on illegal fishermen, undersized nets, smuggling and pollution.

They also aim to protect legitimate Kenyan fishermen from con. They are joined by KRA and Immigration officers.

Officers on Wednesday launched an operation to save the lake from activities that threaten marine life, such as catching immature fish, and hurt the blue economy.

KCGS officer in charge of Inland Squadron Lt Bernard Mibei said are patrolling to protect the lake and fishermen from internal and external threats.

He spoke to journalists at Pier Beach in Homa Bay town.

They patrolled along Doho, Kaimbo, Homa Line, Kisaka and Remo beaches in Homa Bay.

Mibei said they impounded three unsafe boats and seized six large illegal fishing nets with small mesh to catch immature fish.

Kenya Coast Guards Service officers led by Lieutenant Bernard Mibei with their partol boat at Homa Bay Pier beach where they displayed illegal fishing netts on October 14.
ON PATROL: Kenya Coast Guards Service officers led by Lieutenant Bernard Mibei with their partol boat at Homa Bay Pier beach where they displayed illegal fishing netts on October 14.
Image: ROBERT OMOLLO

Fifteen people were arrested for illegal fishing; five others were held for operating dilapidated and dangerous vessels.

They also confiscated ghost nets - nets permanently left in the lake, some in breeding grounds.

“Let fishermen desist from the wrong fishing methods and using illegal gear. We're going to enforce the law to protect the lake," Mibei said.

He said the crackdown will continue until all fishermen understand regulations and protect the lake.

The Coast Guard is educating fishermen about fisheries, management and development.

He said they are addressing constant harassment of Kenyan fishermen by Uganda and Tanzanian security personnel.

Some arrests have been made when no offence has been committed.

Mibei said operations will extend to Migori and Kisumu counties.

Homa Bay also has many entry points from Uganda and Tanzania, making it a easy place for smuggling.

“We expect an increase in surveillance through patrols in the lake. The government intends to protect the country’s borders,” Mibei said.

Last week, Homa Bay county commissioner Moses Lilan said KCGS personnel will operate from Mbita town.

He said they will work with officers from the Kenya Revenue Authority and the Immigration department.

“We expect to do away with people who take advantage of porous borders to practice illegal businesses,” Lilan said.

(Edited by V. Graham)