Biting shortage of omena hits traders in Lake Victoria
Fears of a complete depletion of omena in Lake Victoria in the next three months are rife, mainly due to uncontrolled fishing.
Yesterday, Migori County Government, in collaboration with the fishermen’s leadership, banned fishing of omena for nine days, starting next Monday.
The county’s Livestock and Fisheries chief officer Elijah Gambere said they had put adequate measures to ensure that fishermen complied with the directive, which aims at allowing fish to multiply rapidly.
Speaking in Migori town, he explained that omena had reduced tremendously due to over-harvesting day and night.
Fishermen have also been using illicit nets to catch young Omena and other fish, to the detriment of the stock,” he noted.
Migori County Fishermen group chairman Julius Odhiambo said they would co-operate with the government to ensure omena stocks increase.
“For nine days starting next Monday, fishing of omena will be banned.” he said, adding:“We’ll work with the county government to monitor the lake”.
Odhiambo said that in future, omena would be fished happen only after 9pm after.
Laying of traps would be banned and only the right nets would be used.
Lake Victoria is rich in fish, earning the country about Sh1 billion annually from exports and domestic consumption.
Shortage of the omena has led to a sharp rise in prices in Migori and other areas. Statistics indicate that a 2kg tin of omena — which used to cost Sh300 — is now trading at Sh500 locally.