Bunyoro Fishermen Struggle to Send Children to School over FPU Operations

The affected fishermen have been left stranded without any economic activity forcing many of them to vacate the lake.
Fishing boats at Kijangi landing site in Hoima district. Most of the fishing boats have been set ablaze by FPU operatives becaused they are undersized leaving several fishermen stranded .Photo by Emmanuel Okello.

Audio 2

Several fishermen in the Bunyoro sub-region are struggling to send their children back to school following the intensified operations by the Fisheries Protection Unit-FPU. 

The operation is targeting those with undersized boats, fishing nets, hooks, and monofilament nets among others from the landing sites of Butiaba, Wanseko, Bugoigo, and Kabolwa in Buliisa, Kijangi, Kaiso, Rwentale, Runga, and Mbegu in Hoima, Nkondo, Sebigoro, Kyehoro, Bugoma and Kyekapere in Kikuube, Ndaiga and Kitebere in Kagadi.

The affected fishermen have been left stranded without any economic activity forcing many of them to vacate the lake. 

Christopher Tibenda, a fisherman at the Kyehoro landing site in Kikuube district says most parents who are fishermen are likely not to send back their children to school since they have been hit hard by the FPU operations. 

//cue in;”Kubi gambu gi… Cue out:…sente ngereziri zayi.”//

Patrick Kyaligonza, a fisherman at Kaiso landing site in Hoima says he has failed to take his four children to school because he has no school fees.  He says for the last four months, he has not been carrying out fishing activities following the FPU operations.

Jane Atimonga, a mother of three who deals in the fish business at Nsuzu landing site in Kikuube says currently the situation is hard for her to take her children to school since there is no business that brings her money to pay school.

She wants the government to relax the guidelines and allow fishermen to carry out fishing so that they can get money to send children back to school.

Musa Awera, a fisherman at Butiaba landing site in Buliisa says the FPU operation has left many fishermen impoverished and therefore can’t afford to pay school fees for their children.   

//cue in;”Nakintu kindi FPU…

Cue out:…kuba badoli hai somero.”//

Vincent Alpha Opio, the Kikuube LC V Vice-Chairperson says following the operations, many school-going children could be left home since most parents along the shores of Lake Albert do not have any other alternatives apart from the fishing industry.

Fred Lukumu, the Buliisa LCV Chairperson wants the government to allow fishermen to freely carry out fishing especially during this period when children are going back to school to allow parents to generate school fees.   

There are more than 50,000 fishermen on Lake Albert 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.    
In October and November respectively last year, the Fisheries Protection Unit-FPU impounded and destroyed 279,900 pieces of illegal fishing gear countrywide.  The destroyed fishing gear includes boats, monofilament nets, Kokota, solar batteries, bulbs, hooks, and immature fish among others.  

The 279,900 items were confiscated and destroyed from the sectors of Kikuube, Ntoroko, Butiaba, Hoima, Serere, Namayingo, Mukono, Rukungiri, Buvuma, Mpigi, Kasese, Buyende, Nakasongola, Kwania, Apac, Kalangala, Jinja, and Pakwach among other sectors where the FPU personnel operate.