The Star (Nairobi)

20 February 2013

Kenya: Fishermen's Joy As Currents Sweep Lake Victoria Weed

TRANSPORT and fishing in Lake Victoria have resumed after the hyacinth was swept away by currents. For seven months, the operations on the lake had been paralysed by the weed.

Fishermen, who had abandoned their boats, were seen busy repairing them to begin operations.The Koginga section of the lake, which was completely blocked by the weed, is now back to normalcy.

Maurice Ochieng, a fisherman from Soklo Island, could not hide his joy when he finally docked at the Koginga beach in Homa Bay town.

"This is just a blessing from God. We have been suffering for seven months," said Ochieng.He said the weed has disappeared at the right time as they need to get fish to sell and obtain school fees.

"I have three children in secondary school and four others in primary. I am now optimistic of paying the schools fees as long as the lake remains clear," said Ochieng.

However Ochieng called on the government to look for a permanent solution to the weed which has rendered hundreds of people jobless.

Mary Achieng, a fishmonger from Shauri Yako, said the prices of fish had reduced.She said for seven months, it was difficult to get fish because of the hyacinth. This pushed the price of fish up.

"We used to travel through as far as Mbita or Sindo which had not been affected by the hyacinth. This made us increase the price to recover the expenses we use," said Achieng.

However she says there is a stiff competition from other fishmongers who transport the fish to other major towns such as Nairobi.The connection between the islands and the main land has also resumed which has now led to a booming business in Homa Bay.

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