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A Hundred Fishing Boats Burnt on Lake Albert

The boats were destroyed in an operation conducted on Sunday and Monday at Runga landing site in Kiganja sub county Hoima district.
Some of the illegal fishing boats being burnt by FPU operatives at Runga landing site in Hoima district.


The Fisheries Protection Unit-FPU has set ablaze more than 100 illegal fishing boats and 100 monofilament nets impounded from Lake Albert.  

 

The boats were destroyed in an operation conducted on Sunday and Monday at Runga landing site in Kiganja sub county Hoima district.

Lieutenant Lauben Ndifula, the spokesperson of the Fisheries Protection Unit told Uganda Radio Network on Tuesday afternoon that since the operation against illegal fishing by fishermen on the lake Albert waters started last month, they have so far destroyed 2,408 illegal boats and 15990 monofilament nets.

  

According to Ndifula, the operation that is ongoing is aimed at strengthening national capacities to eliminate illegal fishing activities and increase protection of trans-boundary resources. 

He says despite severally warnings to the fishermen to desist from using illegal fishing gear, they have kept a deaf ear.

Ndifula says all fishermen operating on Lake Albert have to acquire the recommended fishing gear.

 

Illegal fishing, according to the Ministry of Agriculture, Animal Industry and Fisheries involves the use of less than five-inch fishing nets for Tilapia and less than seven-inch fishing nets for Nile Perch. It also entails the use of fishing boats that are less than 20 feet in length.  

The affected fishermen have always demanded that the government avail them loans to acquire the recommended fishing gear.  

They have also severally accused the FPU operatives of using excessive force in their operations.  

   

Many of the Fishermen say that the recommended fishing boat costs more than 3.5 million Shillings while boat engines cost between Shillings 5 million and 9 million, which is too costly for them. 

Robert Tibasiima, a fisherman at Runga landing site says the soldiers conducting the operations are extremely rude and brutal when carrying out the operations.

Wycliffe Okethwengu another fisherman whose two boats were burnt during the operation says his life is currently in peril since he entirely depends on fishing to sustain his family members.

Jackson Kyaligonza also a fisherman whose five fishing boats were also set ablaze, says that the government could have pardoned them since they entirely depend on fishing for their entire livelihood. 

Lake Albert employs approximately 56,000 fishermen who harvest more than 100,000 tons of fish per year. Overall, fishing supports the livelihood of more than 1.6 million people in Uganda.  

Over the last 15 years, the fisheries sector has played an important social and economic role in the country as one of the key foreign exchange-earners, contributing 2.6 percent of Gross Domestic Product (GDP) and 12 percent to agricultural GDP.

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