Minister Adoa meets disgruntled fisheries representative bodies in Entebbe

Agriculture
Minister Adoa meets disgruntled fisheries representative bodies in Entebbe
Minister Adoa

By Lawrence Mushabe

Entebbe - The State minister for Fisheries, Hellen Adoa, has met a group of fisheries stakeholders under their umbrella, Federation of Fisheries Organisations Uganda (FFOU), to address challenges within the fisheries sector.

The meeting was organised with the Fisheries and Aquaculture Act, 2022 at the centre of issues among the stakeholders. The law stipulates the guidelines on licensed fishing methods and the modes of fishing that are accepted by the law.

Fishermen allege that the minister, while addressing the nation at Uganda Media Centre on February 13, passed unlawful directives citing illegal fishing after a consultative meeting between the Fisheries Protection Unit (FPU) and Association of fishers and Lake Users of Uganda (AFALU) .

In a February 15 complaint, the fisheries organisation notified the minister to immediately call for the meeting to respond to the queries attributed to directives allegedly passed.

Allegations included the immediate ban on all fishing methods of silver fish, commonly known as “mukene” - with exception of the scoop net method -, immediate ban on fishing mukene in deep water, and ban on boats.

The directive restricts fishing mukene to the dark of the months.

“At first, we thought the minister had sided with one party, having not consulted us the key stakeholders," Elly Wasajja Mulangila, vice president of FFOU, said, "we thought some people had misled the minister that our fishing methods are illegal.

"We were actually ready to move the matter to the courts of law, if the minister had not intervened.”

Lukia Nabossa, a silver fish business dealer at Kasenyi landing site, lauded the minister's intervention in the matter but decried unclear intentions and unrest operations against silver fish dealers by FPU.

“We appeal to the ministry to always ensure they reach on ground and explain to fish dealers that in case of new laws, directives are made to avoid suspicion,” Lukia said.

During the stakeholders meeting, Minister Adoa denied accusations.

"I made it clear to them that I did not make any new law," the minister sadi.

"This has already been in the law, they should three things which include; use the right gears, be in the right place and at the right time while carrying out fishing activities.”

Adoa cautioned the fish dealers to be involved in proper fishing methods to improve the sector.

Section 32(5) of the Fisheries and Aquaculture Act 2022 provides for the prohibition of fisheries and aquaculture activities without licencse.

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