Local campaigns intensify push to rid Lake Victoria of underage fishermen

Lake Victoria Fishing

Fishing boats loaded with sardines (omena) dock at Litare Beach. Local campaigns have intensified push to rid the lake of underage fishermen.

Photo credit: File I Nation Media Group

Several Beach Management Units (BMU) in Lake Victoria have scaled up the fight against underage individuals engaging in fishing activities.

The move is meant to ensure young school-going boys focus on education first before engaging in fishing businesses.

The BMUs were incorporated by regional security organs to ensure achievement of the 100 percent transition from primary schools to secondary schools set by the national government.

“It is a policy that we have developed in most of our beaches that children are forbidden from engaging in fishing. We are working as a team and so far we don’t have any underage person working as a fisherman,” said Mr William Otieno, BMU chair Sirongo Beach in Bondo sub county.

He added, “We are working with the chiefs and other local leaders to ensure all the children get to school. When we find young people intending to engage in fishing, we challenge them to study first before venturing into it."

The same scenario is witnessed in Sori, Nyatike sub-county in Migori.

According to Mr Justice Adem, BMU chair Sori Beach, there are instances when they had to take underage boys back to school.

“Recently, together with the local administration, we took four underage boys back to school in Nyakach, Kisumu County. We did not allow them into the lake,” said Mr Adem.

He further told Nation.Africa that fishing has numerous challenges that only adults can handle.

“Fishing is not as simple as it appears. The lake has numerous challenges that the young people may not withstand, that is the reason we have kept the beaches out of bounds for the young,” he said.

According to statistics from the BMUs in Homa Bay, Migori and Siaya counties, over 5, 000 underage boys engage in fishing activities while another 10, 000 are engaging in boda boda business.

Mr Ezekiel Ouma, a fisherman from Rarieda, however, said poverty pushed the young boys to the lake.

“There are some boys who are unable to continue with education due to lack of school fees. Some are orphaned and are seeking ways to take care of their families and probably old grandparents,” said Mr Ouma.

Other than the BMUs and the administration, the police have also intensified patrols in the lake and would arrest all the underage individuals taking part in fishing.

Bondo Sub-county Deputy County Commander Kepher Onkundi said the coordination between the BMUs and the police have yielded fruits.

“We work as a team; the officers are patrolling the lake while the BMU officials are ensuring the beaches are ridded of underage boys and girls,” said Mr Onkundi.

Majority of the families living around the lake practice fishing as the major economic activity thus luring the young boys to venture into the trade early in life.


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