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Lake Doomed Over Harmful Fishing Gear, Warns Munyao
Wednesday, October 08, 2003

October 8, 2003
Posted to the web October 8, 2003

John Oywa

The Government has sounded a fresh warning on the over-exploitation of Lake Victoria, saying it spelt doom. The scramble for the most famous fish species, the Nile Perch, to satisfy a growing international market, was threatening its delicate ecosystem, Livestock and Fisheries Development minister Joseph Munyao said yesterday. The minister said the lake was at the mercy of fish merchants, many of who were using banned fishing methods. "The use of destructive gear like the beach seines and the catching of immature fish are still rampant," he said. The minister was speaking in Kisumu when he opened an international conference on community participation in the management of Lake Victoria. The conference, sponsored by the International Union for the Conservation of Nature and the Lake Victoria Fisheries Organisation, has attracted fisheries experts from Cambodia, Norway, Italy, Bangladesh, Uganda and Tanzania. "Fish habitats are being degraded by pollution, poor agricultural practices and deforestation in the catchment area, misuse of wetlands and other factors," Mr Munyao told the conference. He called for an end to hostilities between fishermen and law enforcement officers from the three countries, saying it could affect the flourishing East African Community. Kisumu mayor Otieno Karan said the fight to conserve the lake's bio-diversity would never be won unless local communities and councils were incorporated in the programmes.


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