HOIMA – Fishing communities on the shores of Lake Albert in Hoima district are crying foul following the recent burning of their fishing gear and immature fish.
The fishing equipment and about 800 kilos of immature fish worth about Shs 700 million were destroyed by the UPDF Fisheries Protection Unit [FPU] at Kaiso and Kijangi landing sites in Kabaale and Buseruka sub-counties in Hoima district.
Emanuel Mucunguzi, the spokesperson of FPU said that the operation which has been on since 2021, was aimed at protecting Lake Albert from being depleted of the fish resources.
He noted that they first sensitised the fishing community to do away with illegal fishing gear but some of the fishermen have kept deaf ears.
He noted the operation to seize illegal fishing gear is helping in the restoration of fish in the Lake Albert.
The Hoima deputy resident district commissioner, Michael Kyakashari said that operation was long overdue, adding it is not acceptable for the fishermen to use illegal fishing gear.
“Instead of using these illegal fishing gear, and nets, let them [fishermen] join government programmes such as the Emyooga and Parish Development Model [PDM] to acquire the recommended fishing gear,” he said.
However, some of the affected fishermen said they are unbale to look after their families after the burning of their fishing gear.
Immaculate Busiinge, one of the affected people, said the operation has left many fishermen without a source of income since most of them depend on fishing.
She noted that it is not their intention to use illegal fishing gear but most of them lack funds to procure recommended fishing nets and boats.
She also blamed the government for allowing the importation of illegal fishing gear. “Importation of illegal fishing gear and boats should be prohibited by government, and support the fishing communities with recommended fishing gear,” she said.
Another fisherman, Kabagambe Faustino Ufunge said that several people have no money to buy required fishing gear.
Buy your copy of thecooperator magazine from one of our country-wide vending points or an e-copy on emag.thecooperator.news