In their proposals regarding the Bill, retired Lt. Sam Kigula, the Chairperson of Lake Kyoga Integrated Management Organization told MPs that people who settle on floating Islands pollute the lake. He said that there is a need for a law to stop these settlements.
Lake Kyoga Integrated Management Organization (LAKIMO) has asked
parliament to criminalize settlements on floating islands saying they harbour
criminals who engage in illegal fishing activities.
Leaders from the organization on Tuesday appeared before the Agriculture
Committee of Parliament which is currently considering the Fisheries and
Aquaculture Bill, 2021. The Bill seeks to consolidate and reform the law
relating to the management of fisheries products and aquaculture due to
emerging issues in the regulation and management of the sector.
During the Law Revision of 2000, the Country's laws were reorganized and the
Fish and Crocodile Act became the Fish Act, which was further amended in
2011 to provide for the establishment of the Fisheries Fund and to permit the
retention and use of fees received by the Chief Fisheries Officer from the
issuance of licenses, permits and other activities for development and
management of the sector.
However, the government says that these amendments were not comprehensive
enough to fully address all challenges facing the fisheries sector because they
only focused on licences, the introduction of currency points and retention of
In their proposals regarding the Bill, retired Lt. Sam Kigula, the Chairperson of
Lake Kyoga Integrated Management Organization told MPs that people who settle
on floating Islands pollute the lake. He said that there is a need for a law to
stop these settlements.
Kigula, who doubles as the Nakasongola District LCV Chairperson said that
criminals also hide on the floating Islands.
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He appealed to the committee to incorporate penalties for landlords with
ungazetted landing sites in the Bill since people who engage in illegal fishing
activities hide in such places.
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The organization objected to the registration of a company and
first acquiring Taxpayer Identification Number (TIN) by fishermen before being
allowed to carry out fishing.
“Our community is complex and has different categories of people…some people
telling them about a Taxpayer Identification Number it’s like a nightmare. So,
it is not practical and we recommend that it should be waived off,” said
In response to the presentation, Buvuma County MP Robert Migadde said there is
no need to abolish settlement on floating Islands in law because of environmental
pollution. He said that environmental protection should be ably enforced by the
existing Local Governments.
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Abed Bwanika, the Kimaanya-Kabonera MP sought clarification from a proposal to
have a fishing holiday. He said that this holiday should be only for commercial
fishing and allow other locals who rely on fishing for subsistence purposes to carry
out their activities.
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Janet Grace Okori-Moe, the Agriculture Committee Chairperson said that the
recommendations by the organization should have been presented in form of
proposed amendments to the law.
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Dr Agnes Atim Apea, the Amolator Woman MP questioned the organization about
their views regarding the Fisheries Protection Unit (FPU) operations on the
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Elijah Okupa, the Kasilo County MP said that instead of relying on the army for
enforcement on the water bodies, LAKIMO should focus on getting resources to
carry out enforcement locally.
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Kigula said that the unit in Nakasongola and particularly on Lake Kyoga did its
work very well notwithstanding the challenges.
“Some people were indeed beaten, others lost their lives, properties…during
that operation. This operation had phases and the first phase had a lot of
confrontations and I want to assure this committee that the soldiers who beat
up a woman are still in prison,” said Kigula.
Last year, experts in the agriculture ministry blamed the
occurrence of floating islands, also known as suds, on the rise in the water levels
which led to the detachment of large chunks of land and vegetation from the
mainland in various parts of the country close to the lakes.