Widespread invasion of most primary fish breeding zones by the water hyacinth weed is threatening commercial fishing in Lake Victoria.
Environmental experts say use of poor fishing methods and persistent blockade of the fresh water lake by the rogue weed had significantly reduced the fish catch.
John Mikwa of Muhuru Beach Environmental Group (MUBEG) warned of a bleak future for fish traders as the quantity and quality of fish caught in the lake dwindle over the past few years.
“We are also concerned with the rate of pollution and siltation caused by heavy discharge of toxic industrial chemicals and increasing soil deposits from high farming regions bordering the lake resource,” he said
The group, which is charged with the protection and improvement of sanitation along the beach through provision of environmentally-friendly eco-toilets and forest development, is concerned that the situation could worsen to irreparable levels unless efforts were made to reverse the trend.
Environmentalists are disturbed that very little has been done to control the spread of the destructive hyacinth, persistent pollution and continued siltation due to poor farming methods leading to erosion.
“The water level of the lake which is a source of livelihood to millions of families is likely to go down by over 60 per cent if urgent remedies are not taken and will interfere with the marine life,” said Mrs. Margaret Kidany, the chairperson of Impressa Beach Management Unit (BMU), Migori Chapter that brings together environmentalists in the Lake Basin.
Speaking at her Sori town office, Kidany called for good allocation of resources for research to establish economic potential of the Lake under the poverty eradication programme in devolved system of government.
She identified mismanagement and constant confiscation of fish catch and gears by neighboring countries’ police as also derailing fishing business in the lake.