Fisheries Protection Unit destroys illegal fishing gear worth Shs420m

Fisheries Protection Unit destroys illegal fishing gear worth Shs420m
Gear worth Shs420m is destroyed by SFU

The Fisheries Protection Unit (FPU) of the defence forces has destroyed illegal fishing gear worth Shs423 million at Kawongo landing site on Lake Kyoga in Kayunga District.

The destroyed items include seine nets, cast nets, mina filament nets, undersized hooks and gill nets.

Lt Col Mercy Adah Tukahirwa, who commanded the exercise, said it was aimed at "curbing the mushrooming illegal fishing transactions and also streamlining the profitable fisheries sector".

The exercise follows Lt Col Tukahirwa's a three-day tour of fishing communities around Lake Kyoga.

The commander toured areas of days Kawongo, Lwampanga (Nakasongola) and Namasale (Amolatar) with aim of providing a platform for the fishing communities to interact with FPU personnel on the challenges faced and sensitise them on the benefits of legal fishing.

She urged fishing communities at the respective visited landing sites to employ appropriate fishing gear to conserve the water bodies and ensure continuity of the highly lucrative fishing industry.

"Water bodies don't expand but population increases. Adding that a time will come when lakes cannot sustain us, if inappropriately encroached," she said.

The improper water bodies encroachment by unscrupulous fishermen propelled her to call for maximum cooperation between FPU troops and fishing communities to ensure growth of this sector before moving to pardon some fishermen with impounded fishing gear, cautioning them to stop illegal fishing.

There are, however, some fishing communities, especially Kawongo landing site, that accuse SFU soldiers of stealing boat engines and fishing nets.

The SFU said interactions with the fishermen had revealed that most of them lack resources to purchase the recommended fishing gear so as to abandon poor fishing methods.

It was also agreed that there are not enough FPU troops to streamline the sector in some areas like Lwampanga landing site, while the issue of high-handedness in dealing with people suspected of engaging in illegal fishing also came up.

In 2017, President Museveni initiated the operation against illegal fishing, which has had a significant increase in fish stocks ever since the crackdown on illegal fishing on mainly Uganda's lakes and rivers.

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