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Coast Guard sets base in Lake Naivasha to fight illegal fishing

Officials say cases have sharply dropped over the last two months since the officers began patrolling the lake

In Summary

-          Lake has 150 licensed fishermen

Kenya Maritime Authority regional manager Alex Mwongo shows Lake Naivasha fishermen a sample of the new number plates that will be fitted on all vessels in the country’s main water bodies. The move is meant to address rising cases of boat accidents and illegal fishing.
MEASURES: Kenya Maritime Authority regional manager Alex Mwongo shows Lake Naivasha fishermen a sample of the new number plates that will be fitted on all vessels in the country’s main water bodies. The move is meant to address rising cases of boat accidents and illegal fishing.
Image: GEORGE MURAGE

The Kenya Coast Guard Service has set a base around Lake Naivasha in a bid to end illegal fishing.

The officers are based in Loldia in North Lake where a landowner donated a parcel for them.

Cases of illegal fishing have dropped sharply following the introduction of the officers in the lake in the last two months.

For over a year, groups of armed youths conducted illegal fishing activities, raising fears that the fisheries sector could collapse.

Naivasha deputy county commissioner Mutua Kisilu said the arrival of the guards had helped contain the rising cases of illegal fishing.

He said plans were at an advanced stage to get more patrol boats which the armed officers would use to man the lake.

“We have identified a parcel of land where the guards will establish a patrol base and this will help address cases of illegal fishing,” Kisilu said on Monday.

Speaking in his office, Mutua said the government had formed a multi-agency security team that was working with the KCGS.

More than 20 boats, tens of contraband nets and over 50 suspects had been nabbed in the last month and arraigned.

“Our efforts are bearing fruit as we have seen cases of illegal fishing drop. Anyone arrested in the lake with weapons is being charged with illegal fishing and robbery,” the administrator said.

Lake Naivasha Boat Owners Association chairman David Kilo admitted that the patrols were bearing fruits.

He however challenged the county government to embark on restocking the lake with fingerlings noting that the current fish stock could not sustain the over 150 fishermen.

He noted that the lake supported hundreds of families adding that currently getting the popular Tilapia species was a major challenge.

“Fish catch has dropped by over 60 per cent in the last two months and things could get worse in the coming months due to overfishing,” Kilo said.

He attributed the drop to fishing in the breeding zones, failure to restock and lack of support by the county government.

“In the past fishermen have contributed towards restocking only for the illegal fishermen to reap where they never planted and hence the current drop,” Kilo said.

 

Edited by P.O