The operation is part of the intensified fight against illegal fishing on water bodies across the country.
Police marine unit Commanding Officer, Assistant Commissioner of Police (ACP) Elias Mwesigye said the destructive fishing nets were seized from poachers on Nkombo island in Rusizi District.
The substandard and illicit nets were disposed of in presence of some area residents and members of fishing cooperatives to emphasize the fight against the illegal acts and reporting those involved, ACP Mwesigye said.
"Some of the confiscated nets were banned due to their ill-effects on fish growth. Others are illicit including mosquito nets and kaningini, which kill young fish," he said.
“Police Marine Unit is there to ensure that people using water bodies for any business do it legally and safe."
ACP Mwesigye elaborated on the ill-effects of illegal fishing, which can also lead to loss of lives.
“Illegal fishing is dangerous more than what people think. Poachers use substandard and destructive gears, which injure or kill fish. The dead fish can easily become toxic and negatively affect consumers’ lives but also when the injured fish remain in water they can contaminate others which can also die,” he explained.
"These illegal and dangerous fishing practices, therefore, affect aquaculture and fish depletion, especially when using such fishing gears that net and kill even the juvenile fish.”
The commander warned that operations are continuous around the country, and people who will be caught in those illegal acts will be punished.
He further urged communities around water bodies to take the good initiative of fighting against illegal fishing as well as other crimes that can be committed in waters and report whoever is involved.
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.”