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The impact of UNODC-led training events: Participants halt illegal fishing during training exercise

Kenya, January 2023 - Lake Victoria is the largest freshwater body in Africa and the second largest in the world, with over 40 million people, spread among its Tanzanian, Kenyan and Ugandan banks, depending on the lake for their livelihoods. However, Lake Victoria has seen an increase in unreported and unregulated fishing in the past few years, with severe and far-reaching consequences, contributing to the extinction of over 76 percent of the lake’s fish species and hindering the long-term sustainable management of fisheries.

In January, the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) Global Maritime Crime Programme (GMCP) conducted a 14-day extensive training and exercise programme under the EU Programme on Port Security and Safety of Navigation at the Port of Kisumu. The participants represented the Kenyan Coast Guard Service (KCGS), the National Police Service, the Kenya Port Authority, Immigration Services, including the Kenya Bureau of Standards (KEBS), and the Kenya Plant Health Inspectorate Service (KEPHIS). 

On 20 January, as part of the training programme, UNODC accompanied the course participants in conducting a waterside and anchorage area security assessment onboard KCGS patrol craft Sumba. The participants spotted a small fishing boat using monofilament fishing net, raising suspicion as it is uncommon for such a vessel to be used for regular fishing activities.

"We seized the vessel along with its occupant and placed them in police custody at the Port Police. The net was placed at the Coast Guard exhibition store while awaiting destruction orders from the Kisumu law court", described Police Constable Faith Ann Mwendwa, who took part in the seizure. 

The training on Lake Victoria, which will be followed by a two-week training block in Mombasa before continuing to neighbouring Tanzania, is part of the EU-funded Port Security and Safety of Navigation Programme for Eastern and Southern Africa and the Indian Ocean, a regional programme under the coordination of the Indian Ocean Commission and jointly implemented with IMO and INTERPOL.

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