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Fishermen seek govt collaboration to combat malpractices

Fishermen in Homa-Bay County have resolved to work with the government to address bad fishing practises in Lake Victoria.

Homa Bay Beach Management Units (BMU) Chairman Edward Oremo said they have formed a committee that will ensure they protect the lake from illegal fishing gear and pollution.

He said that the fishermen were also collaborating with the government to seek solutions to the constant harassment of fishermen by foreign authorities.

Oremo said senior officials from the Ministry of Interior and National Administration will coordinate the team to address the challenges.

He said the committee consists of officials from BMUs, the Fisheries Department, the Kenya Coast Guard Service, and Interior and National Administration personnel.

“The committee members will be sensitising fishermen on the negative impacts of bad fishing practises.Fishermen need to understand the importance of complying with the regulations issued by the fisheries department,” Oremo said.

Speaking Tuesday during a stakeholder meeting in Homa Bay town, Oremo said they will undertake patrols as a way of protecting the lake from bad fishing practises.

On numerous occasions, Kenyan fishermen have decried harassment from Ugandan and Tanzanian patrol guards.

The foreign soldiers usually seize boats and subject the fishermen to hefty fines for trespassing during fishing expeditions.

Oremo expressed hope that working together will enable them to bring order to the fishing sector.

“Lake Victoria is a shared resource, and it should benefit all of us. There are common laws on fishing in the lake which we should comply with to ensure the challenges our fishermen face are solved,” he added.

He noted that bad fishing practises have contributed to the dwindling fish population in the lake.

Homa Bay County has the largest lakefront in Kenya, with at least 137 active beach units.

BMU Vice Chairman Tom Guda said bad fishing practises have promoted conflicts in the lake as the population of fish continues dwindling.

“Those who use illegal fishing gear catch premature fish, hence depopulating fish. The shortage of fish in the lake causes Kenyan fishermen to trespass and get arrested by foreign authorities,” Guda said.

During the meeting, the fishermen urged governors whose counties border the lake to work with the national government to address insecurity challenges.

Guda argued that conflicts arise in the lake because of failure to embrace common laws that guide fishing operations.

“It’s high time we used the agreed laws to avoid cases of conflict,” he said.

By Davis Langat

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