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Wildebeests walk past a horse at the Crescent Island | Coastweek

NAIROBI (Xinhua) -- Wildebeests walk past a horse at the Crescent Island in Lake Naivasha. Lake Naivasha is the second largest freshwater Lake in Kenya and a noted scenic spot for tourists. XINHUA PHOTO BY: PAN SIWEI

Scientists investigate mysterious deaths of fish in Lake Naivasha

NAIVASHA, (Xinhua) -- Kenya’s fisheries officials and Kenya Marine and Fisheries Research Institute (KEMFRI) on Wednesday launched investigations into the mysterious deaths of fish in Lake Naivasha.

This came as the fisheries department in the ministry of agriculture and livestock development ruled out poisoning for the deaths of hundreds of fish which was first reported over the weekend.

On Sunday, fishermen accused a group of Chinese from Valley Breeze hotel of poisoning the lake leading to the mass deaths.

But speaking after visiting the affected part of the lake, Nakuru County Director of Fisheries Mathew Ngila noted that the deaths had stopped.

He pointed an accusing finger at some fishermen for the crisis, adding that there was business rivalry between the Chinese investor and the local fishermen.

"We have visited the affected area with experts from KEMFRI and there are no signs of poisoning as claimed by the local fishermen," he said.

Ngila however noted that investigations into the deaths would continue and challenged the fishermen who had evidence of poisoning to work with them.

The director defended the Chinese investor, adding that his ability to attract tens of foreign visitors to the hotel and offer boat rides had led to the business rivalry.

"The group of Chinese in the lake is licensed to do spot fishing and the maximum number of fish that they can harvest on a single day is five," he said.

Ngila revisited the ban on night fishing, adding that any fisherman found flouting the directive would have his license cancelled.

"The ban will stand as we have lost a lot of fishermen while fishing in the lake and we are calling on the fishermen to work with us on this issue," he said.

This came as the department of public health joined in the investigations following the deaths of the fish in the troubled water body.

According to Nakuru County Public health officer Samuel King’ori, officers from the department had also visited the lake following the reports.

He termed the deaths as very serious and sensitive, noting that hundreds of people relied on fish products from the water body on daily basis.

"The number of fish consumed in the lake is very high and we want to make sure that it’s safe for human consumption," he said.


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