Incidents of illegal fishing on Lake Naivasha, the only freshwater lake in the Rift Valley, have risen to worrying levels by the beginning of last year after county government patrol boats were grounded for what is attributed to a lack of fuel and maintenance.
Lake Naivasha Boat Owners Association chairman David Kilo said that although fishermen had for a long time been providing the county patrol boats with fuel and other maintenance costs, the county authorities have never demonstrated commitment to its obligations.
Early last year, he said, three of the patrol boats stationed at different landing sites stalled, precipitating a crisis that created room for illegal fishermen to thrive.
“The county government has totally neglected the department of fisheries in terms of funding and currently all the patrol boats have been grounded,” he said.
Kilo expressed concern over the increasing challenges the lake currently faces. One of them, according to the chairman is water hyacinth encroachment onto the riparian land, which he said needs urgent attention.
The invasive weed has spread to alarming levels threatens to affect fishing and tourism activities on the only freshwater lake in the Rift Valley.
He regrets that attention is focused on riparian land around Nairobi yet Lake Naivasha, which is a resource critical to the economy of the country, is neglected.
This came even as the Imarisha Naivasha Board through its chairman Kamau Mbogo questioned the move to haphazardly open corridors around the lake without conducting an environmental impact assessment.
Mbogo noted that currently the number of informal settlements around the lake was on the rise with the number of inhabitants also increasing.
He criticised the county government for using tractors to uproot vegetation around the riparian land and for allowing all forms of waste from the settlements to flow into the lake.
The lake, which is the main lifeline of Naivasha town and the surrounding areas, is heavily polluted because of irrational decisions by a section of county, he lamented out.
The sentiments were expressed on the back of assessment by the organisation that points to rising cases of organic pollution in the lake.