- Interpol Twitter
572 individuals were arrested in Kenya during Interpol's month-long operation carried out from October 1.
A statement by the Directorate of Criminal Investigations (DCI) on Sunday, January 8, indicated that the operation was launched to combat illegal, unreported and unregulated fishing in Kenya’s inland waters and along the Kenyan coast.
According to a report on the operation initiated by Interpol's Environmental Security Programme and Maritime Security Sub- directorate and nationally coordinated by the Interpol National Central Bureau (NCB) based at DCI headquarters, usage of illegal fishing gears and fishing methods are the main contributing factors that could cripple the lifeline of hundreds of thousands of people who depend on fishing.
Dubbed Ikatere, the operation's overall objective was Monitoring and Combating illegal activities and was conducted between October 1 and October 31, 2021.Some of the arrested fishermen being processed at Kisumu Port in October 2021.DCI
The report found that the illegal and unregistered activities harmed sea life and in some cases, led to conflict between Kenyans and their Ugandan counterparts.
"The report noted that the indiscriminate use of small seine nets meant for Omena finishing, was the biggest threat to marine life, leading to the destruction of fish breeding grounds especially in Lake Victoria, Lake Naivasha and the Lamu Archipelago.
"This has, for instance, led to a reduction of fish in Lake Victoria, leading to cross border conflicts between Ugandan and Kenyan fishermen who have to scramble for the scarce resource," read the statement in part.
The report further noted that human trafficking also thrives in the country's inland waters, especially in Lake Turkana, where immigrants from Ethiopia illegally use fishing vessels to cross over to Kenya in search of greener pastures.
"Smuggling of contraband goods has also become rampant, especially in Lake Victoria and the Lamu coastal waters where sugar, miraa, turtle meat and powdered milk is smuggled by criminals masquerading as fishers.
"During the operation, a total of 572 arrests were effected in targeted areas of the Indian Ocean and inland waters of Lake Victoria, Lake Turkana, Lake Naivasha and Lake Nakuru," continued the statement.
Alongside the arrests were thousands of seizures in terms of un-customed goods, prohibited fishing gear and unregistered fishing vessels.
The operation was conducted in a multi-agency context that brought together Kenyan law enforcement agencies including National Police Service, Kenya Coast Guard Service, Kenya Maritime Authority and Kenya Revenue Authority (KRA).
Others were the Department of Immigration Services, Kenya Fisheries Service, Kenya Wildlife Service, National Environmental Management Authority and Kenya Ports Authority.
This comes even as tension between Kenyan fishermen and their Ugandan counterparts continues to rage on. In mid-December 2021, four Ugandans were arrested after harassing Kenyan fishermen.
The four were accused of detaining Kenyan fishermen and demanding Ksh30,000 from each of them.A file image of the DCI heaquarters along Kiambu roadcriminal harass armed arrest illegal armed
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