RESOURCE WAR

Illegal fishermen take over Lake Naivasha

The gangs are stealing nets and fish every day.

In Summary
  • Licensed fishermen now want the county government and KWS to heighten patrols around the lake.
Illegal fishermen catch fish in Lake Naivasha where cases of fish and nets theft have risen sharply since the year began
Illegal fishermen catch fish in Lake Naivasha where cases of fish and nets theft have risen sharply since the year began
Image: GEORGE MURAGE

Illegal fishermen have taken over fishing in Lake Naivasha, stealing nets and carting away catch under the cover of darkness.

Licensed fishermen now want the county government and the Kenya Wildlife Service to heighten patrols around the lake where cases of illegal fishing and use of undersize nets have become the norm.

Reports show over 30 per cent of licensed fishermen in the lake had relocated to Lake Nakuru due to rising cases of crime in the former.

According to Lucas Atieno from Central landing beach, cases of theft targeting nets and catch are rampant in the lake.

He said fishermen were being forced to sleep at the lake to protect their nets from the gangs.

“Licensed fishermen are incurring huge losses due to the theft of their nets and we are calling on the Department of Fisheries to address this through night patrols,” he said on Wednesday.

This was echoed by fisherman James Wachira, who termed the lake as one of the most dangerous places to venture.

He said that the armed groups were using undersize nets to fish even on breeding grounds, adversely affecting fish production.

“Gangs of youths have taken over the lake stealing fish catch at night and even using undersize nets to harvest where they never sowed,” he said.

Speaking earlier, the CEC for Agriculture in Nakuru county Dr Immaculate Maina, admitted that undersize nets were a challenge to the fisheries sector.

Maina added that they were keen to ban the use and sale of the lethal nets as one way of saving the sector that earned the county Sh300 million in the last financial year.

“Fishing will only be allowed between 6am and 6pm and 100m away from the shoreline while anyone dealing in the sale of fishing gear will have to be licensed by the county,” she said.

Maina added that the process of formulating a legal framework on hook and line fishing, which is rampant in the lake, was underway.

“The government is committed to fighting unregulated and illegal fishing in all our water bodies and we shall be using the Kenya Coast Guard to enforce this,” she said.

Edited by Henry Makori