•The joint operations by the multi-agency team was bearing fruits.
•The current number of over 200 boats was unattainable against a drop in fish catch.
The move to introduce armed patrols by the Kenya Coast Guards Services in Lake Naivasha has started to yield fruits with cases of illegal fishing dropping.
According to data from the security agencies in Naivasha, the cases had dropped by over 50 per cent.
Two months ago, the national and county governments formed a multi-agency team to patrol the lake following a sharp increase in the number of ‘foot-fishermen’.
Naivasha subcounty commissioner Mutua Kisulu, said the joint operations by the multi-agency team was bearing fruits.
Mutua said that the patrols would continue until there was sanity in the lake whose catch had dropped by over 60 per cent.
“Cases of illegal fishing in the lake have dropped by half and we expect this vice to be a thing of the past in the coming weeks,” he said.
He said since the crackdown started, they had impounded over twenty boats and arrested over 50 suspects who had been charged with various offences.
“In the past, we were charging the suspects with illegal fishing but nowadays those found with weapons are being charged with robbery,” he said.
The official said they would not be cowed by demonstrations and threats by the youths who had been kicked out of the lake.
“We shall continue until all the illegal groups are out of the lake,” he said.
Agriculture executive in Nakuru Immaculate Maina attributed the influx of illegal fishermen to job losses in the horticulture and hospitality industries.
She said the problem started when the workers lost their jobs due to the Covid-19 pandemic leading to a crisis in the lake.
“The county will continue with the annual restocking of fingerlings as the lake's potential is yet to be fully exploited,” Maina said.
Earlier, a report by a task force appointed to look into the status of the fisheries sector in Nakuru had proposed a reduction in the number of fishermen in the lake.
The report said the current number of over 200 boats was unattainable against a drop in fish catch in the last couple of months.
Edited by Kiilu Damaris