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FPU embarks on sensitisation of communities against illegal fishing

NTOROKO, May 25, 2024 – The Uganda People’s Defence Forces Fisheries Protection Unit [FPU] led by the unit commander, Lt. Col. Mercy Tukahirwa has embarked on sensitising fishing communities against illegal fishing.

During a sensitisation meeting held at Kanara landing site in Ntoroko district recently, Lt. Col. Tukahirwa said that they are evaluating the fishing community’s adherence to regulations against illegal fishing.

“These meetings with local leaders and fishing communities are aimed at addressing resistance within the community and seeking solutions to the ongoing issues at the landing site, especially illegal fishing,” she said.

She added: “Deployment of UPDF marine enforcement officers on lakes and along highways are to ensure people are not involved in smuggling immature fish because it affects production leading to low revenue.”

Lt. Lauben Ndifuna, the Spokesperson FPU said there is need for the fishing community to adhere to the established regulations that are aimed at preserving the lakes ecosystem and sustaining fish stocks for future generations.

“I call upon everyone in the fishing communities to ensure responsible fishing practices and the consequences of illegal fishing activities on both the environment and livelihood,” Ndifuna said.

According to the Chairperson Kanara landing site, Amis Nsubuga, the communities use illegal fishing nets because they can’t afford to buy the recommended ones. He therefore requested government to supply them with modern fishing nets.

“We are really tired of being harassed and getting arrested by the enforcement team because of our involvement in illegal fishing. We are not doing it intentionally but we are limited by finances,” he said.

However, fishing communities pledged to cooperate with the fisheries protection unit officials to ensure there is legal fishing on the lakes where they operate from.

Meanwhile, in Kasese district, Lt. Hatim Mbaziira the Commander FPU on lakes George and Edward attributed the low fish production to the use of illegal boats and fishing gear.

“Fishing nets and boats have increased and yet the lake is not increasing in terms of size. When you were coming here, you came with nets and boats, my question is why are you adding more nets and boats, that means you are forging licenses, according to me, we need to reduce these nets,” Mbaziira said.

Lt. Col. Tukahirwa and her team were in Rwenzori sub region since last week sensitiSing fishing communities of Mahyoro landing site in Kamwenge district, Mpondwe-Lhubiriha market in Kasese district and Kanara landing site in Ntoroko district.

In 2017, President Museveni initiated the operation against illegal fishing which has had a significant increase in fish stocks in the country’s lakes.

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