The Kenya Coast Guard Services in collaboration with security and judicial officers on Saturday destroyed 26 illegal fishing gears worth Sh2 million.
Addressing the press before setting ablaze the gears at Port Victoria Fisheries grounds in Bunyala Sub County on Saturday, KCGS Deputy Director of Enforcement and Marine Resource Protection Robert Wanyama said that the consignment was seized between July 8th and 27th this year within Busia and Siaya waters.
“This is an area where there is a lot of illegal fishing and we have just begun the process of ensuring that the vice is stopped,” he said.
Wanyama urged the local fishermen to refrain from using illegal gears adding that Coast Guard Services would not relent on cracking down on those breaking the law.
“This is the second time we are undertaking serious enforcement in this area and we will continue with our patrols to ensure that prohibited fishing gears and methods are exacerbated,” he said.
He disclosed that 80 fishermen had been arrested and prosecuted in court in connection with the use of illegal nets before a court order was issued for their destruction.
Kenya Coast Guard Services Inland Squadron L. Victoria Waters Commander Jotham Odera hailed the Kenya Coast Guard Services officers for arresting the suspects and confiscating the illegal gear.
Odera called upon relevant stakeholders to shun illegal fishing activities adding that they would not be harassed by the Ugandan authorities.
“We have talked to them and they have said that the bone of contention with you lies in the use of illegal gears,” he said.
The official advised the fisher folk to avoid catching immature fish, use only the accepted fishing nets and avoid fishing within breeding areas.
Busia Chief Magistrate Lucy Ambasi advised the relevant stakeholders to continue sensitizing the local fisher folk on the dangers of illegal fishing on economic development.
By Salome Alwanda