Homa Bay County fisheries department on Thursday destroyed illegal fishing gear estimated to be worth Ksh3 million.
The fishing nets, which the county officials said threaten aquatic life in Lake Victoria, were set on fire in Mbita town.
According to County Agriculture and Fisheries Executive Aguko Juma, the nets totalling to 134 were confiscated last week by officers from his department who were on patrol in Lake Victoria.
The nets were seized in Gembe and Rusinga Island where the department flagged illegal fishing activities.
The operation to get rid of the illegal gear, Juma said, began in 2019.
Juma explained that some of the nets capture everything from the lake including fingerlings and immature ones hence threatening the existence of some species of fish.
“Some of the nets can capture everything it comes across including fish eggs. They also destroy fish habitats in the lake,” said Juma.
“All illegal nets must be destroyed because if they are kept, they can still find their way back in the water. This is a threat to the fishing industry which employs millions of people.”
Fishermen in the region, who rely on the activity for their daily bread, have been warned to desist from using the illegal fishing gear or face consequences.
The latest comes at a time the local fishermen continue to air their frustrations over the increasing water in the lake due to ongoing heavy rain that has led to the closure of more than 300 fish landing beaches.
“The boats cannot land because of flooding. The fish bandas have been destroyed. Only a few people still go into the lake but it is risky. I have been at home for one week now,” Thomas Okello a fisherman from Migingo island in Migori, told a local media recently in an interview.
The situation has been aggravated by the Covid-19 movement restrictions that have left many fishermen stranded with fish due to lack of market.