Fishermen blame pollution for Lake Victoria fish decline

KISUMU, KENYA: Fishermen in Lake Victoria have expressed concerns over a possible extinction of the Tilapia Species due to high levels of pollution in the lake.

They said that a catch on the species has been on a steady decline as various institutions around the lake continue to release untreated waste into the lake.

The fishermen in Kisumu and Kendu Bay told the Standard that in the past few months, pollution on the Lake has been on an increase.

They noted pollution always threaten the Tilapia species which swims to other regions in search of clean water.

John Okello, a fisherman at Dunga beach said that in the recent past, their fishing ventures have resulted in very few Tilapia.

He noted that despite the decline in fish stocks in Lake Victoria, Tilapia species has been the most affected with many fishermen now focusing on other species.

"Most of our ventures have been futile because the lake is polluted and Tilapia prefers clean water," said Okello.

The fisherman noted that many people are being forced out of the trade because of the dwindling fish stocks.

"We are going through hard times because some of us end up catching only a single fish after setting their fish traps," he said.

Charles Okello, another fisherman said that in most cases a lot of physical waste including plastics and polythene papers are normally caught up in their fishing nets.

As a result, he noted, many fishermen have been forced to hike the prices of the fish they get with some going up to 1500 or more depending on their sizes.

Last year, investigations by the Standard revealed that fish especially Tilapia is now being imported into the region from China as a result of the dwindling stocks.