Leaders raise alarm over over-fishing

Fishermen process their catch of tilapia at the shores of lake Turkana on February 20,2021. [Denish Ochieng, Standard]

High demand for undersized fish in neighbouring East African countries is a threat fish stock in Lake Turkana, leaders have said.

Governor Jeremiah Lomorukai said they have instructed fisheries department to take action against those found to be fishing undersized fish.

“We will not allow our people to be exploited by unscrupulous traders who are camping with refrigerated trucks on the shores of Lake Turkana. It is unfair that dealers get fish cheaply from the lake and sell them at triple the prices," Lomorukai said.

Lodwar township Member of County Assembly Ruth Kuya urged fisheries department to intervene and enforce laws to curb overfishing in Lake Turkana.

“It is sad the fishermen have started catching small fish in the lake. This has disrupted breeding areas and could lead to shortage of fish," Ms Kuya warned.

Speaking during a graduation ceremony of Community Disease Reporters (CDRs) in Lodwar, Kuya said they would introduce a bill in the county assembly to curb selling of undersized fish from the lake.

“Our people depend on this lake for their livelihoods. It is unfortunate some unscrupulous business people from neighbouring countries are using local fishermen to over-exploit the lake. We ask the fisheries department to take necessary action against the culprits," she said.

They said that they would stop refrigerated trucks from sourcing fish directly from the lake, saying fishermen were being exploited since the truck owners get fish at cheaper prices and resell to residents at exorbitant prices after storing.

Akal Ewoi, a Kalokol resident, accused some fishery officers of colluding with Congolese fish delears to aid in exportation of undersized fish to the Democratic Republic of Congo.

The county has issued a gazette notice warning fishermen against catching undersize fish but the the directive has largely been ignored by dealers.