Gov't Directs Fresh Registration of Fishermen on Lake Kwania, Kyoga

The move is aimed at regulating illegal fishing activities and conserving Uganda’s water bodies.

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  The Ministry of Agriculture, Animal Industry and Fisheries have issued a directive to all boat owners along Lake Kwania and Lake Kyoga to register their boats.

The move is aimed at regulating illegal fishing activities and conserving Uganda’s water bodies.

According to the ministry, boat owners must have the recommended size of boats and fishing gear, Tax Identification Numbers and National Identity Cards.

Boat owners who are not fishermen are required to first secure fishing licenses for their fishermen at 25,000 shillings to be registered.

According to the guidelines, 21,764 fishermen are targeted for the registration on the 10,882 landing sites on Lake Kwania and Lake Kyoga in the Northern and Eastern region. 

According to a letter dated 11th March 2020, Pius Wakabi Kasaja, the Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Agriculture, Fishery and Animal Industry has directed all Resident District Commissioners, Fishery Officers along Lake Kwania and Lake Kyoga to monitor the exercise. 

The exercise is expected to end on 31st March, this year.

Those to be registered include; boat owners, fishmongers, fishermen, gear dealers and fish processors and the priorities will be given to indigenous people provided one has the National ID and the TIN. 

However, in Apac District, Mega Wilfred, the Apac District Fisheries Officer says the activity will start on 16th March 2020 from Kiga and Limi landing sites pending a meeting with UPDF team at Kayei landing on Monday.

He hopes after the exercise the lakes will be opened.

“Hopefully after that, the Lakes will be open but for now it is not yet open. Those are the steps towards opening the lakes,” he said.

66-year-old Margaret Agol, a resident of Apyelamol village in Akokoro Sub County says the government should restrict and control illegal fishing on Lakes and intensify security on landing sites to reduce on criminal cases along landing sites. 

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Lawrence Oruk , a resident of Obolicani village in Ajar parish Chawente Sub County welcomed the move but called on government to revise the regulation of registering only indigenous people since it will limit potential businessmen from participating.

He believes that once the lakes are opened, the fishermen will get access to pay school fees and earn an income. 

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Bob Okae, the LCV Chairperson Apac district and a member of Lake Kyoga Integrated Management Organisation rallied the fishermen to turn up for the exercise adding that the prevalence of illegal fishing has now reduced.

President Yoweri Kaguta Museveni in March last year directed the UPDF Fishery Protection Unit to imposed the ban on fishing on Lake Kyoga and Lake Kwania to allow depleted fish to mature, a directive that saw over 21,764 fishermen evicted from the lakes along with different landing sites.