15 July 2014

Kenya: Fears Over Fish Stock in L Naivasha

The department of fisheries in Lake Naivasha has said that lifting the annual fishing ban in the lake could kill the fisheries sector.

The department said that since the ban was lifted by the Nakuru county government a month ago, the number of poachers has increased.

In a letter to the county government, Naivasha subcounty fisheries officer Mathew Ngila said that fish stock in the lake could be depleted by the end of this financial year.

Ngila attributed the crisis in the lake to the high number of poachers and lack of resources.

The letter said that it has become difficult to prevent poaching because the department does not have enough money.

Ngila said the office received only Sh328,000 in the 2014-15 financial year.

Last month, Agriculture executive Stanley Chepkwony lifted the annual fishing ban that runs between July and September, which is meant to restock the lake.

"The ban has been in force for the last 14 years and it has achieved its purpose and there is need to review it now," he said while lifting the ban.

Lake Naivasha Fisheries Management Committee chairman David Ndirangu confirmed receiving a copy of the letter.

He said there was a crisis in the lake and the fisheries department does not have an operational boat or a vehicle to work with.

Ndirangu said Nakuru county could be blamed for having lifted the annual ban, adding that the main reason for the crisis was lack of capacity to the department.

He said an earlier attempt by some fishermen and fisheries officers to deal with the poachers was met with resistance. Some of the fishermen and officers were injured.

Ndirangu said the issue can be solved if the office got more funding from the county government.

"The worrying thing is the high number of illegal fishermen who are using undersize nets and fishing in the breeding zones," he said.

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