A row pitting licensed fishermen against illegal fishermen has erupted in Lake Naivasha leaving scores injured, a boat torched and fishing operations paralyzed in some of the beaches.
According to Kamere landing beach chair Wesley Kimutai, a group of poachers attacked four fishermen using crude weapons seriously injuring one of them.
“We have suffered enough under the hands of these crooks. It’s time that action was taken before more blood was shed,” he said.
At the center of the row is frequent bloody-attacks and theft of fish by the illegal fishermen popularly known as poachers in the last couple of months.
Licensed fishermen now want the national government to take over control of the troubled water body accusing the Nakuru County government of failing in its mandate.
Kimutai attributed the current crisis to the county government which had failed to fund the department of fisheries in its patrols. Karen Achieng, a fish trader at the lake, warned of a bloody clash between the fishermen and the poachers if security officers fails to intervene.
Achieng said that they were still waiting for the deployment of the Coast Guards to the lake to deal with the rising cases of illegal fishing and armed robbery.
“After the incident where one of the licensed fishermen was attacked and injured, his irate colleagues moved in and torched the boat used by these poachers,” she said. Another trader Christine Ene said the influx of poachers had adversely affected the fish market with the prices dropping sharply.
“This lake supports tens of families but a few individuals have taken control of it leading to massive losses to the traders and the legal fishermen,” she said.
A fisherman Fredrick Wandera told of their anger saying they were the ones restocking the lake only for the poachers to reap from their hard work. “These poachers are fishing even on breeding grounds and along the shores adversely affecting fish production,” he said.
Naivasha sub-county commissioner Mutua Kisilu says a multi-agency security team had been formed to deal with the poachers.
“Since the Covid-19 pandemic was reported, the number of illegal fishermen has risen sharply leading to a drop in fish catch due to poor fishing methods and over-fishing,” he said.