Chinese and Naivasha fisherman in row over fish
An ugly confrontation between local fishermen at Lake Naivasha and a group of Chinese fishermen who have been fishing at the lake erupted y threatening to disrupt activities in the area.
The local fishermen are accusing the foreigners of being behind an incident in which hundreds of fish were found dead at the shores of the lake near Kamere landing beach.
The angry fishermen raided Valley Breeze Hotel where the Chinese have been camping and confiscated their fishing equipment including boats accusing them of killing their livelihoods.
Armed police were forced to intervene and cordon the hotel to avert a violent conflict between the two groups.
The Chairman, Lake Naivasha Boat Owners Association Daudi Kilo, told the press that fishermen working around the beach spotted floating dead fish and informed their colleagues.
Kilo blamed Nakuru County Government which he accused of licensing the Chinese fishermen to fish using their advanced equipment, noting that this has seen a sharp drop in fish catch for the local fishermen.
“We have not witnessed such a tragedy of fish dying at Lake Naivasha and we fear that more could die due to the methods used by the foreigners,” he said.
Killo warned that the fishermen would not sit back and watch as their source of livelihood being destroyed and told the County Government to act fast to avert further disaster.
The Chairman said the local fishermen have been active in protecting the lake and its ecosystem by ensuring they funded fish restocking and wondered why the Chinese were allowed to fish using undersize and illegal nets leading to indiscriminate fishing.
The Chinese fishermen who were allowed to use modern engine boats have been fishing in the lake for the last one year.
Contacted, area Member of the County Assembly (MCA) Peter Pallang’a warned that the county would not be allowed to license illegal fishing, saying he would raise the issue with the County Assembly with a view to having the investors’ licenses cancelled.
Pallang’a said that the lake economically supported hundreds of people directly and indirectly, and that the introduction of the Chinese investors has since been a liability and not an asset both to the County and the local community.
By Esther Mwangi