Fishermen Killed by Floating Papyrus on Lake Victoria

Two fishermen in Masaka have been killed by floating papyrus on Lake Victoria. The fishermen, Tadeo Kiggundu of Lukaaya and Nsimbe of Bukomansimbi, were working off Dimo landing site in Masaka at the time.

Emmanuel Bbaale, the councilor for Buliro Parish in Masaka, says the large clumps of papyrus were blown off the shoreline during a windstorm. He says the floating papyrus hit the fishermen's boat, causing it to capsize. The fishermen were stuck under the papyrus and unable to swim to safety.

Floating papyrus clumps, commonly known as sudds, are a regular problem for fishermen in Masaka.

Bbaale says the sudds have settled around Dimo landing site in Kyanamukaaka Sub-County, making navigation on the lake very difficult. He says a 520 million shilling landing site center on the lake has also been destroyed by the sudds.

Tom Mukasa Bukenya, the Masaka district fisheries officer, says the problem of the sudds is magnified during the windy season in July and August. He says the papyrus is hard to uproot and is causing widespread silting on Lake Victoria.

Bukenya says Masaka district cannot handle the magnitude of the problem and needs urgent intervention by the central government.

The bodies of the dead fishermen have not been recovered. John Mugisha, the CID officer at Kyesiga Police Station, says there is little hope of finding the bodies because of the density of the floating papyrus.