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Bunyoro Fishermen Demand Reinstatement of BMUs

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Pascal Opio, a fisherman attached to Mbegu Landing site in Tonya parish in Buseruka Sub County in Hoima district, says they have lost several fishermen believed to have been thrown by fellow fishermen in the Lake since the BMUs were disbanded.
Fishing boats at Butiaba Landing site in Butiaba sub county Buliisa district.

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Fishermen operating on Lake Albert water are demanding for the reinstatement if the Beach Management Units-BMUs with clear operational guidelines to restore discipline and order in fishing communities. Lake Albert covers Buliisa, Hoima, Kikuube and Kagadi districts.

According to the fishermen, they don't have proper administrative structures since the Beach Management Units were disbanded three years ago. Pascal Opio, a fisherman attached to Mbegu Landing site in Tonya parish in Buseruka Sub County in Hoima district, says they have lost several fishermen believed to have been thrown by fellow fishermen in the Lake since the BMUs were disbanded.

According to Opio, the BMUs used to sensitise fishermen on better fishing practices, a thing that is no longer happening since they were disbanded.

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Elly Tumwine, a fisherman at Walukuba landing site in Buliisa district, says in the absence of BMUs there is no one to enforce discipline among fishermen.

He says before the abolition of BMUs, fishermen used to organise themselves and implement some projects.

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Robert Isingoma, a fisherman at Nkondo landing site in Kikube district, says the BMUs should be reinstated immediately if sanity is to return among fishermen operating on Lake Albert.

He says some fishermen have adamantly refused to pay fishing fees like users fees simply because they don't trust the current existing laws and management on the Lake.

The BMUs used to play several roles such as licensing boats, vetting fishermen and enforcing safety guidelines among others.

Simon Agaba Kinene, the Buliisa district LC V Chairperson, says the fishermen are right to agitate for the reinstatement of BUMs since it used to streamline their operations effectively.

He vows to petition the Fisheries Ministry and president's office to ensure the concerns of the fishermen are attended to. Kinene says the fishermen lack capacity to conserve and preserve the lake, which calls for the reinstatement of BMUs.

 

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In 2015, President, Yoweri Kaguta Museveni dissolved the operations of BMUs following allegations of corruption and torture. He then tasked the local communities and fishermen around lakes to select knowledgeable among them to form committees that would oversee the water bodies and fishing activities.

He challenged the fishing communities to jealously guard the lakes and the fish therein because it's part of their livelihood.