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Lake Victoria is depleted of Omena fish

Fears are rife about a complete depletion of Omena fish in Lake Victoria in the next three months as uncontrolled fishing activities by fishermen continue unabated.

Consequently, yesterday, the Migori County Government in collaboration with the fishermen’s leadership issued a ban on Omena fishing for nine days as from Monday next week.

County Livestock and Fisheries Chief officer Elijah Gambere said they have put adequate measures to ensure that fishermen complied with the directive aimed at allowing the fish species to multiply rapidly during the fishing prohibition period.

Speaking in Migori town, the official explained that the number of Omena in the lake had reduced tremendously due to continuous harvesting that has been happening day and night.

“The fishermen have also been using illicit nets to catch even young Omena and other fish species to the detriment of the lake fish stock,” he noted.

Migori County Fishermen group chairman Julius Odhiambo confirmed their resolve to cooperate with the government to ensure Omena stock increase in the lake.

“For the next nine days from Monday next week, no Omena fishermen will be allowed to go in the lake to lay traps for this fish species whose number has dwindled much,” he assured.

“We are going to work hand in hand with the county government to mount up to date surveillance in all parts of the lake within our jurisdiction with a view to enforce the ban for the sake of the Omena stock in the Lake,” he added.

Odhiambo noted that in future, Omena fishing would be allowed to happen only after 9pm after the nine-day ban period. The habit of laying traps day and night to harvest Omena would also be stopped and fishermen would only be allowed to use the right nets in the lake.

Lake Victoria is the fish resource hub in the region that earn the fisher folk and the country in general about Sh1 billion annually from fish sold locally and exported to foreign markets.

Omena fishermen set off from Sori beach for a fishing expedition in Lake Victoria

The shortage of the Omena species in the lake and subsequently in markets has led to a sharp rise in the prices of the fish species in Migori and far flung areas directly sourcing Omena from the lake.

According to available statistics, a 2kgs tin of Omena that cost Sh300 during the past one month is now trading at Sh500 in the local markets.

Source:KNA

 

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