Tanzania releases 15 Kenyan fishers after Sh150,000 fine paid

Monday February 4 2019

Kenyan fishermen Tanzania

Some of the 15 fishermen from Homa Bay County, at Sota Marine Base Pier in Tanzania's Sota Island, after their release from police custody on February 4, 2019. PHOTO | GEORGE ODIWUOR | NATION MEDIA GROUP 

GEORGE ODIWUOR
By GEORGE ODIWUOR
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The 15 Kenyans who had been detained in Tanzania on accusations of illegal fishing were finally released on Monday after paying a total fine of Sh150,000.

They were arrested last Thursday, while going about their regular activities, by armed Tanzanian officials.

Edward Oremo, Homa Bay County Beach Management Unit Network chairperson, said the fishermen were also given their five boats and gear.

NO CHARGES

The release followed negotiations between security officials and the fishing community from Remba Island where they were from.

Mr Oremo said the Sh150,000 was contributed by boat owners who operate in Lake Victoria.

The cash - Sh30,000 per boat - was paid to Tanzanian security officers and no receipt issued.

Suba North divisional police commander, Charles Mwangi, earlier said they were not officially informed of the arrest and release of the fishermen.

Mr Oremo said the men, also accused of using unauthorised nets, were not charged in court.

“They were locked up at a security camp within Sota Island from the day of their arrest,” Mr Oremo said.

BOUNDARIES

Mr Oremo complained that most fishermen do not know the boundary with Tanzania.

“Fishermen have difficulties knowing where their countries end. We need guidelines on this,” he said.

The chair also called for government intervention to resolve the differences between Kenyan fishermen and Tanzanian authorities.

“We resolved the problems with Ugandan security personnel. Our fishermen now know the rules of that country. We appeal to the government to help us understand maritime laws in Tanzania,” added Mr Oremo.