Six Kenyan fishermen held in Tanzania

Kenyan fishermen

The six Kenyan fishermen who were detained in Tanzania since June 25. They were released on September 3,2021 after paying Sh300,000 fine.

Photo credit: Ian Byron | Nation Media Group

Kenyan fishermen on Lake Victoria have complained about “incessant arrests” by Tanzanian authorities after six of their colleagues were seized on Monday.

Kibro Beach Management Unit chairman Maulid Joel said the six were arrested while fishing and were transferred to Sota Beach in Tanzania where they are being held.

Nation.Africa established that the fishermen might be charged with trespassing and illegal fishing in Tanzanian waters.

Mr Maulid, who left for Tanzania on Tuesday to negotiate the terms for the Kenyans’ release, told Nation.Africa that their fishing gear was also confiscated in the Monday night raid.

Sota Beach

“They (Tanzanians) have not told us what they want. I am heading to Tarime to see if we can secure their release,” he said.

Migori County Commissioner Meru Mwangi said they will seek to secure the release of the fishermen.

Fisherfolk and leaders in Nyatike sub-county have repeatedly complained about harassment by Tanzanian and Ugandan authorities.

“We are seeking to have an engagement with Tanzanians to have the issue resolved, I have taken up the matter with my security committee,” Mr Mwangi said.

The official exuded confidence that the matter will be resolved amicably.

Fishing industry

On Wednesday, leaders and fishermen on Lake Victoria called for joint fishing licences in the East African Community (EAC).

Nyatike MP Tom Odege and Muhuru Bay MCA Hevron Maira raised the concern following the detention of six fishermen on June 15, 2021, days after nine others were held captive for allegedly trespassing into Tanzanian waters.

The duo maintained that a joint East African licence was the only way of ending the incessant harassment of Kenyan fishermen.

“The territorial boundaries in the lake are not clearly marked and in most cases, it is the Tanzanian authorities that end up straying into Kenyan waters to make arbitrary arrests,” Mr Odege told Nation.Africa.

“Fishing expeditions are often done at night and it is difficult to ascertain the exact borderlines.”

Mr Maira said he was pushing through a petition at the East African Legislative Assembly in Arusha, Tanzania, that will see the EAC issue joint operational licences.

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