The Kenya Coast Guard Service (KCGS) on Friday destroyed illegal fishing gears worth Sh. 4 million in Kisumu.
The illegal fishing gears were detained through enforcement patrols within Lake Victoria to curb indiscriminate fishing which has seen fish production in the lake drop.
The 45 illegal nets ranging from monofilament, undersize gillnets, mosquito seine nets and beach were torched at Kisumu pier to deter fishermen from the vice.
KCGS Director General (DG) Brigadier Loonena Naisho who spearheaded the exercise said over 100 offenders have been arrested in Kisumu, Siaya and Homa Bay counties and will be arraigned in court and charged.
He said KCGS has enhanced patrols within the lake to enforce the law and ensure that prohibited fishing gears and methods are not exacerbated.
“Reports indicate that overfishing by organized crime syndicates in Lake Victoria could drive 76 percent of fish species to extinction,” he said.
The use of illegal fishing gears, he added was also to blame for cases of fishermen being harassed by neighboring security agencies.
The DG called for collaboration with Beach Management Units (BMU) and court officials to eradicate illegal fishing in the lake.
Loonena cautioned the BMU’s against destruction of boats and fishing gears of others without following due process of the law.
“We have noticed criminal activities where some beach management units take the law unto themselves by destroying boats and nets of others,” he said.
He challenged the BMU’s to sensitize fishermen on changing and adapting sustainable modes of fishing to rebuild fish stocks in the lake.
By Chris Mahandara