25 illicit fishing gears seized in Lake Kivu

On 4 August 2020 at 07:39

Marine Police operations conducted o in Lake Kivu have led to impoundeding of 25 illicit fishing nets and 17 wooden boats, which were being used by poachers.

The operations were conducted between 28th and 31st of July as part of the ongoing fight against illegal fishing activities.

According to Chief Inspector of Police (CIP) Bonaventure Twizere Karekezi, the Police spokesperson for the Western region, the illicit nets valued at Rwf7.5 million, are more than 50 metres long, each.

The illicit nets commonly known as Kaningini and substandard boats were disposed-of in Nkombo Sector, Rusizi District in a public destruction exercise.

The disposing-of exercise brought together the Police, local leaders and residents.

"Residents were enlightened on lawful fishing, ill-effects of illegal fishing and agricultural activities in buffer zones to the aquaculture. No farming activities are allowed with in at least 50 metres from the water body," CIP Karekezi said.

"They were also enlightened on the safety practices when in such water bodies, encouraged to form cooperatives and to use authorised fishing gears which don’t kill the young fish but rather facilitates fish growth and production," he added.

The operations followed others conducted on July 24, in Lake Kivu on the Islands of Mafundugu and Nyanamo in Musasa Sector, Rutsiro District, where 16 wooden boats and 15 rolls of illicit fishing nets were also seized and ten poachers arrested.

A similar operation conducted in Lake Burera on July 22, seized two destructive nets, boats and poachers.

Such illegal fishing activities are also blamed for environmental degradation and violation of measures against the spread of covid-19, since the violators don’t wear facemask.

The ongoing operations are in line with the Marine Police responsibilities, which include; maintaining safety and security of water bodies and increasing public awareness.

The awareness against illegal fishing and other unlawful practices targets mainly poachers and farmers, who encroach and degrade buffer zone environment.

Illegal fishing, smuggling, drug trafficking and violation of waterways regulations are the most prevalent offenses registered in Lake Kivu.

The law N°58/2008 of 10/09/2008 determining the organization and management of aquaculture and fishing in Rwanda provides that the right to fishing in public waters is only granted by a competent authority, which issues the fishing license.

Any person, who engages in fishing activities without authorization shall be liable to a fine ranging from Rwf50,000 to Rwf200,000 and an imprisonment of 3 to 6 months or one of them, and dispossession of the equipment used.

Article 11 outlaws use of “poisonous substances aimed at stunning, weakening or killing fish; applying explosives; using electromagnetic procedures or electrocution; flashing water with an aim of capturing fish; fishing where water organisms are reproduced.”