The warning comes after several people have been arrested in illegal fishing activities including use of banned nets.
The latest operation was conducted on Tuesday in part of the lake on the side of Gihombo Sector in Nyamasheke District, where quantities of indiscriminate nets were seized from illegal fishermen some of who were arrested.
The seized illegal nets were disposed of in presence of local residents, who were warned against such unlawful practices and urged to report those involved.
Chief Inspector of Police (CIP) Emmanuel Kayigi, the Police spokesperson for the Western region, said that Police and the Marine Unit, in particular, have strengthened operations on the lake and educating communities residing near the water body on dangers of illegal fishing activities.
“These operations and awareness campaigns are aimed at fighting common illegal fishing practices such and the use of substandard nets and illegal snares, which capture fish eggs and juvenile fish hurting the survival of fish stocks,” said CIP Kayigi.
Illegal fishing and the use of unregulated and destructive gears cause depletion of fish stock.
“We urge those living near water bodies and other people to desist from these illegal practices, to form and legalize their groups and cooperatives to conduct legal fishing business; respect government policies and rules on restocking period when fishing is suspended, use modern fishing gears; farmers to respect the 50 meters buffer zone from the protected water bodies.”
The buffer zone is only reserved for permanent vegetation including trees to prevent soil erosion, which affects aquaculture and quality of water bodies.
CIP Kayigi called upon communities near waters and fishing cooperatives to stop children from fishing and swimming in dangerous water banks, which is one of the causes of drowning.