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Fisherfolk decry diminishing fish stocks

Fishermen and fish mongers in Homa Bay County have expressed concerns over diminishing catches in Lake Victoria.

A cross section of the fisherfolk lamented that they were going through a difficult period due to dwindling catches compounded by the prevailing high cost of living.

Martin Okidi, a local fisherman and a boat owner operating from Lela beach said that they have been venturing into the lake for long hours only to come back with dismal catches or nothing at all.
He attributed the situation to widespread use of illegal gear as well as over fishing which posed a threat to their source of livelihood.

“This problem has been caused by some desperate fishermen who use illegal fishing gears to catch fingerlings, which leads to reduced fish population,” Okidi said.

He called on the government to intensify surveillance on the lake and crack down on those using illegal fishing gears.

He at the same time attributed reduced fishing activities in the lake to high cost of fuel used to power motor boats. Okidi also decried rising cases of stealing of fish nets at night by unknown people.

Agnes Akeyo, a fishmonger, expressed challenges of high prices of fish in the wholesale markets due to dwindling catches.

She said the purchasing power of their regular customers had been eroded by inflation and the weakening Kenya shilling.
“I hope the government will put in place measures to ease inflation and grow the economy so that businesses thrive,” Akeyo said.

She commended the government for implementation of the affordable housing programme noting that the youth were now getting jobs from the projects.

By Marren Ochieng and Davis Langat

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