Fishermen operating at various landing sites on the shores of Lake
Albert in the Bunyoro have asked Prime Minister Robinah Nabbanja to intervene
and halt the ongoing operation against illegal fishing gear in the area.
The fisheries Protection Unit-FPU early this month launched an operation
against illegal fishing gear on the Lake Albert. Since the operation started, the FPU operatives
have burnt more than 2000 illegal boats and 15,590 monofilament nets impounded
Solomon Wamala, a fisherman at Butiaba landing site in Buliisa wants the office
of the prime minister to suspend the operation and give the fishermen time to
reorganize themselves from the effects of both the COVID-19 pandemic and the
floods that caused the havoc.
//cue in;”Habintu bya operation…
Cue out:…be cyeri nibatunga.”//
Fred Wathum, a fisherman at Bugoigo landing site in Buliisa
district explains that as fishermen, they were not consulted and were surprised
to see the FPU operatives storming their landing sites and burning their
He says following the operation, they are languishing in poverty
since fishing is the only source of their livelihood.
John Tibenda, a fisherman at Kijangi landing site in Hoima District
says the FPU operatives conducting the operation are too ruthless and hostile
calling upon the office of the prime minister to first put the operation on
halt and conduct thorough sensitization among the fishermen on the use of the
recommended fishing gear.
//Cue in: “Operation which was…
Cue out: “…of the operation.”//
Lt. Lauben Ndifula, the spokesperson of the fisheries protection
Unit-FPU explains that the fishermen were given ample time to reorganize
themselves before the operation started.
He says the only alternative is that the fishermen should acquire the
recommended fishing gear as required by the law.
Illegal fishing, according to the Ministry of Agriculture, Animal
Industry and Fisheries involve using less than five-inch fishing nets for
Tilapia and less than seven-inch fishing nets for Nile Perch. It also entails
using fishing boats that are less than 20 feet in length.
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.
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 per cent of Gross Domestic Product (GDP) and
12 per cent to agricultural GDP.