Busia County Commissioner Dr. Ahmed Omar has warned all chiefs whose areas of jurisdiction border Lake Victoria against allowing fishermen to use illegal nets.
Speaking to the press in his office, Dr. Omar said that if the practice continued disciplinary action would be taken against them.
“I also want to warn the leadership of Beach Management Units (BMUs) that they will personally be held responsible for illegal actions by fishermen under them,” he said.
He noted that a number of fishermen have been arrested by the Ugandan authorities for using illegal fishing nets in the recent past.
“If we allow the use of illegal fishing nets to continue, we will soon suffer fish shortages and this will negatively affect the economies of Kenya, Uganda and Tanzania,” Dr. Omar noted.
The CC commended the Ugandan and Tanzanian fishermen for adhering to the East African Community protocol adding that the Kenyan side has remained adamant.
“Some of our fishermen were arrested by Ugandan authorities and were released only after the intervention of the County Security team,” he said, warning that his office would not intervene for any fisherman who goes against the protocol.
Dr. Omar further warned that errant fishermen would not only be arrested by the Uganda authorities but also the Kenyan government.
He at the same time blamed the Kenya Coastguard officers for laxity in implementing the laws governing fishing within Lake Victoria urging them to be more vigilant.
“The area around the beach is large and they cannot be everywhere but we still insist that they should be stricter,” he said.
The administrator underscored the need to establish the source of the illegal fishing nets and have a permanent solution of stopping their use.
“Here in Busia we have not found any business premises selling such illegal gear, but in case any fisherman is arrested, we will interrogate them to establish the source of these items,” he said.
By Salome Alwanda and Joshua Opili