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Alarm as fish catch in Naivasha drops by over 40 percent

By Antony Gitonga | March 10th 2020
A fisherman going about his business in Lake Naivasha (PHOTO: Antony Gitonga)

Fish production in Lake Naivasha has dropped by over 40 percent in the last one month with illegal fishing and a rise in water levels blamed for the current crisis.

Legalised fishermen have attributed the current drop to the high number of illegal-fishermen who have taken control of the troubled water body.

But the department of fisheries has attributed this to a rise in water levels noting that this was the normal phenomenon every time there were heavy rains in the catchment area.

Following the drop in the catch, fish prices have nearly doubled with demand for the catch also rising.

According to the director of fisheries in Nakuru County Mathew Ngila, both tilapia and common carp species are affected.

“We have recorded a 40 percent drop in fish catch in the lake mainly due to the increase in water levels occasioned by heavy rains in the catchment area and this is always the norm,” he said.

Ngila admitted that the number of illegal fishermen around the lake was also on the rise but was quick to note that their presence could not affect fish catch.

“We are working with other stakeholders like KWS to address the sharp rise in the number of illegal fishermen,” he said.

The director added that the county would in the coming week restock the lake with 200,000 fingerlings from the Sh2 million set aside by the county government for the exercise.

However, the chair Central landing beach Lucas Atieno attributed the drop to illegal fishing around the troubled water body.

Atieno said that the foot-fishermen as they are known were using undersise nets on the shores of the lake thus trapping immature fish.

“We have a major problem around the lake in the name of foot-fishermen and if this is not addressed, fishing will be a thing of the past,” he said.

Atieno added that the situation had been worsened by use of undersize nets, which had seen gains made through years of restocking eroded in months.

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