County Directorate of Fisheries yesterday organized a meeting with the chairpersons of the Beach Management Units (BMUs) across the county to chart the partnership approach towards the sustainable use of the Lake Victoria for economic gain.
The meeting held at the ABDP Conference Hall opposite Fisheries offices along pipeline road, brought on board key stakeholders who included the Kenya Fisheries Services, KMFRI, and Kenya Coast Guard services.
The deliberations focused on the roles of the stakeholders, the status of the beach management units , the challenges and the way forward.
While addressing the chairpersons of the BMUs present in the meeting, the CEC for Agriculture, Irrigation, Livestock and Fisheries, Mr. Gilchrist Okuom noted the key role played by the fisher folk despite the challenges experienced in the recent past such as the back flow of the lake which affected their operations in the lake.
He however implored on them to accept the reality that the lake is a shared resource which is not elastic hence it has a limit of aquatic life it can contain within a given time frame.
Mr. Okuom called on the fishermen to have a paradigm shift from the capture fisheries which has adversely contributed to over exploitation of the lake Victoria. He instead urged them to venture into other alternative lucrative fishing methods such as aquaculture for economic empowerment.
The fishermen were also warned against using illegal fishing gears that they will face the full force of the law, recalling that some of them lost up to 3million a fortnight ago when their illegal fishing nets were burnt.
The County Executive promised to expedite the regulations on cage fishing and matters licensing by February.
On her part, the Chief Officer for Livestock and Fisheries, Madam Rosemary Raluoch urged the fishermen to have a businesses mindset and explore the fish value chain in order to improve food security, alleviate poverty and create opportunities that attract income.
The Ag. City Manager who is also the CEO Lakefront Development, Mr Abala Wanga, used the session to calm the fears of the fishermen over the ongoing demolitions and relocation, urging them not to fear change but think on how they can transform and take up the opportunities that come with the change.
Also in attendance were:Captain Jonathan Odera and Haron Buluma from Kenya Coat Guard services, Mr Horace Owiti from KMFRI, Madam Anne Mokoro from Kenya Fisheries services, County Fisheries Director Susan Adhiambo among other county officials from the Fisheries directorate.