Homa Bay Deputy County Commissioner Jude Wasonga has warned all fishermen in possession of illegal fishing gears in Lake Victoria to surrender them with immediate effect.
The administrator gave a 24-hour ultimatum to the fishermen adding they will face consequences should they fail to do as directed.
This step has been taken in a bid to eliminate a weird and illegal fishing method dubbed “Abunglu” that the fisher folks have been practising contrary to Fisheries Act.
Addressing the press after a stakeholder meeting at the office of the Kenya Fisheries Service (KFS) in Homa Bay Town, Wasonga asked the fisher folks using illegal fishing equipment to surrender saying that they are the main cause of the frequent conflicts in the beaches.
“We must eradicate the illegal fishing exercise and all fishermen in possession of the materials must surrender them within 24 hours,” said the DCC.
This comes just a week after a 31-year-old fisherman died in a clash between fishermen from two beaches over alleged boundary trespass in Homa Bay Town Sub-County.
Wasonga urged residents along the beaches to desist from abusing drugs, saying that they contribute to the fights that have been witnessed recently in the area.
He promised that the Sub-County Security Committee will work closely with Beach Management Units (BMUs) chairmen to ensure that the activities at the lake are restored back to normal.
“Don’t partake in illicit brew, bhang and any other illegal drugs while fishing; that will subject you to making wrong decisions,” he warned.
The administrator added that they will be monitoring the issue periodically and giving regular reports on the same.
The Chairman of BMU Network in Homa Bay County, Edward Oremo on his side called upon the KFS and the County Department of Fisheries to also focus on illegal fish business to create a favourable environment in the markets along the lake.
Oremo also stressed that they must rid the beaches of child labour and that no person below the age of 18 will be allowed to fish in the beaches.
He reiterated that the focus will be on Banana, Lela, Achich, Chuodho and Ondago beaches where frequent conflicts have been witnessed.
By Brian Odhiambo and Sitna Omar