The fisheries department in Bondo Sub County has destroyed illegal fishing gear worth Sh. 700,000 in a move aimed at deterring the rampant illegal fishing in Lake Victoria.
According to sub county fisheries officer Mr Michael Otieno, the illegal gears were confiscated across several beaches in the region with the help of officials of Beach Management Units.
Mr.Otieno who spoke to the media during the torching of the outlawed fishing gears said his office obtained a court order that allowed them to destroy the nets.
The fisheries officer said the continued use of the illegal nets had led to serious depletion of fish population in Lake Victoria.
He said the use of undersize nets by fishermen in the region had led to the capture of fingerlings in the lake putting the regions fishing activities under threat.
Otieno who was flanked by area OCPD Harriet Kinya during the destruction exercise, warned that the fisheries department will take stern action against those using the non-recommended fishing gear.
He disclosed that the department will conduct raids across all beaches in search for illegal nets and urged those who have unwanted gears to surrender them to the their respective BMUs before they are nabbed.
Otieno attributed the current bad blood between Kenyan fishermen and Uganda authorities to the use of illegal gears adding that while their Ugandan counterparts adhere to the law by using recommended nets, Kenyan fishermen violate it but venture into Ugandan waters.
The fisheries officer explained that the Uganda authorities take advantage to arrest and harass Kenyan fishermen because of the contravention.
He called for concerted efforts from all stakeholders in the region to help the department in eradicating the illegality.
OCPD Kinya asked the fishing community around Lake Victoria to follow the regulations set by the fisheries department for smooth running of fishing activities in the lake.
Kinya said that fishermen from the region should emulate their Ugandan counterparts if they wanted the fish population to increase.
It is unfair for our fishermen to deplete the resource on our side by using illegal nets then cross over to fish in Uganda where fishermen use recommended nets that allow fish population to increase, she added.
The OCPD asked the community to join hands with other stakeholders to fight illegal fishing since it is their main economic activity that must be protected.
She stated that Kenya Revenue Authority, Police and Marine patrol teams will intensify their activities in the lake to ensure that fishermen follow the law so that sanity and order in the lake could be maintained.
Source: Kenya News Agency