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Lake Naivasha records significant drop in illegal fishing activities 

The deployment of Kenya Coast Guards Services officers in the troubled Lake Naivasha has significantly reduced illegal fishing activities around the troubled lake due to an increase in surveillance patrols and enforcement efforts.

According to Naivasha Deputy County Commissioner Mutua Kisilu, the government had ordered the deployment of coast guards officers in Lake Naivasha after a sharp rise in illegal fishing activities in the water body.

Kisilu said the officers have now been equipped with necessary gears and patrol vessels to enhance their daily rounds which have since contributed to a drop in illegal fishing activities by over 70 percent in the last six months.

The DCC said the officers have also significantly reduced human activities in the lake to a manageable level which has enhanced protection of the key water resource from economic exploitation.

According to one of the officers, they have confiscated hundreds of outlawed fishing gear, unlicensed fishing vessels and arrested over 700 illegal fishermen with 100 cases reported this year alone.

The officer said the weakest link in the fight against illegal fishing has been low fines charged by the courts on culprits who can easily afford them and later revert to the outlawed business.

He added that the illegal fishermen have also resulted in using man-made canoes to fish at night exposing themselves to danger of attacks by the roaming hippos.

Kisilu said uncontrolled fishing activities in the lake was a disaster waiting to happen as illegal fishermen used undersized gears to net on prohibited breeding points which saw incessant fishing bans by relevant authorities to protect stocked fingerlings.

Kisilu at the same time said they have since engaged the County Government of Nakuru to vet and issue additional licenses in the next one month to foot fishermen as a means of empowerment and to help reduce the high number of youths engaging in crime around the lake.

He hailed the government efforts that have restored the much needed normalcy in the lake and allowed other tourist related activities to thrive following incidences of violent conflicts between licensed and illegal fishermen.

By Erastus Gichohi

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