An arrest warrant has been issued by a Bondo court for 30 fishermen who operate in Lake Victoria in Siaya County for failing to appear in court after being granted cash bail.
Bondo Principal Magistrate John Nandi said the fishermen who were arrested on diverse dates in December 2020 faced charges of possessing illegal fishing gears or failure to wear life jackets and were released on Sh3, 000 cash bail.
The fishermen were arrested by The Kenya Coast Guard Services officers (KCGS).
Speaking during the destruction of illegal fishing nets by a multi-agency team comprising of officers from KCGS, police, national administration and the court, Nandi said the police have been directed to nab all those who jumped bail so that they could face justice.
“We are working hand in hand with the multi-agency team to end the problem of illegal fishing gears and to enhance safety in the lake. Anybody found guilty of contravening the law and regulations should be ready to face charges according to the law,” Nandi said.
KCGS squadron commander captain Jotham Odera disclosed that the destroyed illegal net valued at Sh700,000 were confiscated in Usenge and Mageta island between December 20th and 24th last year.
Captain Odera said the illegal nets contributed to destruction of breeding sites in the lake besides catching undersize fish which has led to depletion of fish in the lake.
The squadron commander said fisherman who were not wearing life jackets were also arrested in an effort to deter fishermen from venturing into the water without safety gears.
“Recently, we had a very serious accident here where ten people lost their lives. We want the fishermen to put on life jackets to avert such deaths,” Odera said.
Bondo Assistant County Commissioner Michael Too stated that the use of illegal gears has had negative impact on the lake including contributing to conflict with the neighbouring countries.
“Because of these nets, we do not have enough fish on our waters causing our fishermen to go to waters of the neighbouring countries resulting to conflict,” Too said.
He said that as administrators, they would not sit back and allow fishermen to use illegal gears adding that they have planned for barazas around the beaches to sensitize the fishermen on the use of correct gears.
By Brian Ondeng