Reports Leo Odera Omolo In Kisumu City
SCIENTIST, conservationists and environmentalists have sounded a stern warning and the alarm over wanton poisoning of rare migratory birds species along the shorelines of the Lake Victoria by illegal hunters.
The experts say the move is threatening tourism in the region and increasing gains made in controlling common diseases in the area.
Illegal hunters are said to have taken the advantage of the fact that thousands of immigrant and wetland birds species appear on rice plantation every year, some having flown from far away as Northern Europe and Asia to spend the winter months in the Southern hemisphere.
During the rain season, especially when it is also the time for planting water foods in the fields and attract a variety of wetland birds.
Another issue of urgent and great concern around Lake Victoria is the reported increase in cases of excessive chemical fishing, which is posing threat to have the fish from Lake Victoria boycotted by importers in foreign countries, and at the same which could endanger the lives of the local consumers of the fish commodity.
The department concern, which is part of the \ministry of Fisheries and Natural Resources seemed to be sleeping on the job and very little is being done to protect the fishing industry around the lake, paving the way for the unscrupulous fishermen to engaged on illegal and crude method of fishing by using chemicals which kills the fish in their thousands including fingerlings, immature and destroying the breeding grounds.
IN Luanda Kotieno beaches in Uyoma West Location within Rarieda District in Siaya county fishermen recently cornered one unscrupulous fisherman who was caught red handed while using unorthodox method by way of spraying substance of poisonous insecticide in the lake at night. The fishermen beat up the suspect to death.
It was after this incident when the police moved in and arrested score of youths suspected to have lynched the illegal fishermen. The youth and members of the fishing fraternity in the region have complained bitterly that the have been reporting to the higher authorities the presence of chemical fishing along the lake, but their reports have always been ignored by
The incident resulted in scores of people living around Luanda Kotieno being rounded up by the police and taken into custody. Dozens of them have appeared before a Kisumu court on suspicion of illegal killing of the fisherman, who was reported to have travelled into the area along way from Seme in Kisumu West district.
Once highly poisonous chemical is sprayed in the surface of lake waters it kills fish in their thousands and the fishermen business is only to collect the dead fish and thereafter sell them to unsuspecting consumers.
Fear persist that bad publicity about chemical fishing in Lake Victoria could jeopardize the fish export, which is fetching Kenya millions of shillings in foreign exchange from European Union countries, Japan, Middle East and the United States.
Poachers interested in catching and selling the birds meat as food. The poachers then wait till the birds have consumed the baits move very quickly and clobbered the birds before killing and taking the poisoned birds for selling in the villages.
Up to 50 per cent of large flock of wetland birds are killed in single session which amount to some 6,000 being killed per one month.
“Bush meat is more often associated with the mammals said one expert Mr Martin Odino who is himself a conservationist in the area.
Birds, he added that the birds too do attract more visitors to the region, particularly the lover and bird watchers.
Other crude methods are used by poachers is killing the birds including rainy snails with caboturan on the ground another highly poisonous.Insecticides. The bait is then left in the field for the yellow billed stocks. After eating poisoned snails the large birds are clubbed to death and the meat of the . . .