Residents want jetty at Lake Victoria beach removed

The jetty at Usenge Beach, Lake Victoria. [File, Standard]
A jetty constructed at Usenge Beach four years ago has led to dwindling fish stocks and disappearance of certain species.

A jetty is a protective structure of stone or concrete that extends from the shore into the water to prevent a beach from washing away.

The facility was designed to allow docking of large fishing vessels.

But residents now say the structure the county government constructed at the cost of Sh2.9 million has now become a source of misery for those whose livelihood depends on fish and lake transport.

Depletion of fish stocks has been attributed to heavy pollution after one side of the lake was cut off. 

As a consequence, the lake is smelly, murky and full of algae. Experts say this has interfered with the flow of water and circulation of oxygen. This has led to death of certain species.

Mr John Ochieng, Usenge Beach Management Unit (BMU) vice-chairman, said the jetty has done residents more harm than good.

“We used to have annual boat race competitions here but this can no longer happen because the beach is muddy,” said Ochieng.

Ochieng, who lamented they were not consulted on the decision to construct the jetty, said it should have been constructed with a culvert to enable easy flow of water. 

Deputy Director Fresh Water Systems at Kenya Marine and Fisheries Research Institute Christopher Aura has called for demolition the jetty to allow free movement of water and improve the circulation of oxygen.

“A good jetty is built where water level is at least one meter deep. The higher the depth the better,” he said.

Dr Aura yesterday said water at the beach is dirty because the jetty has blocked strong currents which are important for filtration of water in the lake.

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