Ministry destroys illegal fishing nets worth Sh2.5m

Monday June 6 2016

A fisherman uses angle fishing in Lake Victoria.

A fisherman uses angle fishing in Lake Victoria. The Fisheries Department in Kisumu has destroyed illegal fishing gear worth Sh2.5 million. PHOTO | TOM OTIENO | NATION MEDIA GROUP 

By ANITA CHEPKOECH
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The Fisheries Department in Kisumu set ablaze illegal fishing gear worth Sh2.5 million.

This followed a swoop carried out on Lake Victoria to ensure that fishermen are using the right nets.

The department’s director, Mr Robert Wanyama, said this week they seized 30 “mosquito net” type of fishing gear worth Sh85,000 each during their several raids.

Improper fishing practices has led to destruction of fish breeding grounds.

“The dwindling fish stock in the lake is worrying. It’s because of the rampant use of illegal gear, which capture both mature and immature fish, including their eggs,” said Mr Wanyama.

Beach seining, mono filament and use of undersized nets are the most common illegal methods of capturing fish.

Beach seining involves tying a fishing net to two ends, few metres into the lake and then pulling it towards the shorelines.

When using the mono filament method,  invisible plastic nets are cast in the water.

SPECIFIC DIMENSIONS FOR THE FISHING NETS

According to Section 43 (4) of the Fisheries Act, it’s illegal to use nets of less than 127mm (hole size) when diagonally straight.

It, however, sets a special size of not less than 10mm for omena fishing. The law also prohibits fishing 2km towards the shores .

According to Mr Wanyama, omena harvesters are required to use light to attract their catch, but without light, they are bound to capture other fish breeds.

He further said they are investigating reports that large-scale fishermen offer bribes to the surveillers, including police to keep using banned fishing materials.