Government outlaws Lake Naivasha night fishing to curb poaching
The government has outlawed night fishing in Lake Naivasha as part of the measures meant to contain the surging cases of illegal fishing around the troubled water body.
Any fisherman caught in the lake past 6pm will be arrested and charged in court according to the new directives that take effect immediately.
According to Naivasha Sub-County Commissioner Mutua Kisilu, their investigations had revealed that illegal fishing was carried out in the night.
Speaking after a stakeholders meeting in South Lake, Mutua announced a major crackdown in the lake to get rid of the illegal groups popularly known as ‘ngoja-ngoja’.
The senior officer said that fishermen would be allowed in the lake between 4am and 6pm warning that anyone breaking the directive would face the full wrath of the law.
“We have banned night fishing with immediate effect as we have come to realize that illegal activities are being carried out during the period,” he said on Thursday.
Mutua added that the illegal gangs were carting tonnes of fish every night raising fears that the fisheries sector could collapse in the coming months.
“We shall henceforth monitor all the traders involved in buying fish from the lake as the majority are getting them illegally,” he said.
However some of the youths involved in the practice warned that kicking them out of the lake could lead to further crisis as they did not have any other source of livelihood.
According to one of the youths Samuel Oloo, poverty and unemployment had pushed the youths into the lake with a view of earning a living.
Oloo added that getting a job in the tens of flower farms had become a major challenge leaving hundreds of the youths jobless.
“The decision to force the youths out of the lake is merely transferring the problem to the estates and streets as these people have to survive,” he warned.
The Kenya Maritime Authority (KMA) will establish a surveillance base at Lake Naivasha to supplement existing security and patrol services being offered by other agencies within the Lake.
KMA Director, Alex Munga, further said that a harmonised system of boat identification will be put in place to make it easier for both local and foreign tourists to recognise safe and genuine tour guides operating on the lake and at the same time, make it easier for authorities to track down boats used by illegal fishermen and monitor those involved in legitimate activities.
Munga added that the patrol base will also be equipped with personnel and facilities that will respond to emergencies such as capsizing of boats and drowning.
Speaking in Nakuru during a joint meeting between KMA top management and the Nakuru County officials led by Executive Committee Member (CEC) for Agriculture, Livestock and Fisheries, Dr Immaculate Maina, the KMA Director, stated that the identification and marking system was also aimed at enhancing compliance in order to achieve effective governance of maritime, transport, tourism and fisheries sectors.
“The County Government in partnership with Kenya Maritime Authority (KMA) will hold a three-day stakeholder engagement forum at Lake Naivasha to sensitise and incorporate views from the public on the identification and marking system of vessels operating in the lake,” the Director disclosed.