Lake Victoria fisherfolk cry foul, seek government protection
Fisheries stakeholders in Nyanza have petitioned the government to adopt new measures to combat illegal fishing activities in Lake Victoria.
They expressed concern over what they termed continued rise of illegal fishing practices in the lake.
National Beach Management Units chairman Tom Guda, asked the government to allocate adequate funds to support proper management of the lake, a move he said could see the lake generate enough fish to bridge the country’s current deficit.
Available data shows that national demand for fish stands at 500,000 tonnes a year, while local production is only 140,000 tonnes. Guda stressed the need for effective implement fisheries policies.
“As the fisherfolk community we would want to see a lot of enforcement being put into safeguarding the lake from excessive encroachment through illegal practices,” Guda told the Business Hub.
Dr Christopher Aura, Acting Deputy Director of Freshwater Systems Research at Kenya Marine and Fisheries Research Institute (KMFRI) urged the government to emphasise on co-management of the lake resources. The latest survey report for Lake Victoria has revealed significant increase in fishing crafts plying the lake.
The Lake Victoria Fisheries Frame Survey 2019, whose validation was done in Kisumu, showed crafts operating in the Kenyan part of the lake increased from 14,365 in 2016 to 16,183 this year, a 13 per cent rise.
There was also a rise in number of fish cages set up in the lake, according to the survey.
Speaking during a forum on validation of the survey report, Fisheries Principal Secretary Prof Micheni Ntiba expressed concern about the statistics captured in the new survey and called for proactive involvement of all fisheries stakeholders in remedying the situation.