Minor drowns fishing illegally in Lake Naivasha

Many youths leave school to cast their nets; they access lake on raft of jerrycans

In Summary

•  The lake has 200 registered fishermen but lures many illegals risking hippo attacks and high waves.

• Times are hard and youths drop out of school to join illegal fishing trade. One drowned on Sunday, his body recovered on Monday. 

Secondary and college students drop out to engage in lurcrative fishing in Lakes Naivasha and Oloidien
DANGEROUS: Secondary and college students drop out to engage in lurcrative fishing in Lakes Naivasha and Oloidien

A minor drowned while fishing illegally in Lake Naivasha as schoolboys increasingly drop out of school to cast their nets.

Community leaders on Monday said minors are leaving schools in large numbers to join illegal fishermen in lakes Naivasha and Oloidien.

They called for the government to intervene.

The 16-year-old drowned on Sunday; his body was recovered on Monday in Kasarani area by the Kenya Coast Guard. 

The Coast Guard has been patrolling the lake for a year.

The body was taken to Naivasha Subcounty Hospital mortuary.

Lake Naivasha Network secretary Grace Nyambura said minors were using empty water jerrycans as rafts to access the lake instead of boats.

She said the practice was rife across the lake with tens of  minors leaving school to catch fish, a lucrative trade.

“We have noticed a sad trend where minors have now joined in illegal fishing and we are asking the government to intervene,” she said on Monday.

“The minors were involved in illegal fishing when one of them was overwhelmed and drowned. The body was retrieved after a one-day search," she said.

Meantime, Naivasha deputy county commissioner Mutua Kisuli denied the recently issued fishing licences for the lake had been revoked.

The lake has about 200 registered fishermen.

Mutua said the process of issuing 80 new licences was conducted freely and fairly with all the intended groups benefitting.

Last week, Nakuru Governor Lee Kinyanjui said he had received complaints from  intended beneficiaries and recalled the licences for further consultations.

Mutua said all the groups targeted to benefit — including former fishermen, people with disabilities and youth groups — had been allocated fishing licences.

“We are perturbed by reports the new fishing licences have been revoked. We are not aware of this and the new group is already fishing in the lake,” he said.

Hellsgate MCA Virginia Wamaitha said a few licences had been recalled because of anomalies in the manner they were allocated.

“We had some few cases where the licences were recalled but all the others. including the former poachers, have gotten their licences,” she said.

(Edited by V. Graham)

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