Teso fishermen warned against invading fish breeding areas

SOROTI– The Assistant Commissioner for Enforcement in the Directorate of Fisheries Resources, Daisy Olyel Aciro has warned fishermen in Teso Sub-region to keep off the fish breeding areas.

This comes at a time when the Ministry of Agriculture, Animal Industry and Fisheries [MAAIF] is carrying out an exercise to map all the fish breeding areas in the region.

The exercise supported by the German government is being carried out in lakes Kyoga, Bisina, and Opeta as part of nationwide validation of fish breeding areas.

“With support from the German government, We are doing massive validation of fish breeding areas in all lakes in the country but specifically in Lake Kyoga, Lake Bisina, and Lake Opeta we are doing mapping of all the fish breeding areas,” said Olyel.

She explained that after mapping, the ministry will put the beacons on the lake so that fishermen respect the breeding areas.

“These areas are in the statutory instrument and are supposed to be protected. Safeguarding breeding areas is key because they are no-go areas,” Olyel said.

Olyel also cautioned fishermen against using poisonous chemicals to fish, saying culprits will be dealt with accordingly.

“When I get you fishing with poisonous chemicals, my team will arrest you and we will prosecute you in the courts of law,” she warned.”

According to her, those found culpable of poisoning fish will not be prosecuted under the weaker Fish Act but the Penal Code Act.

However, the State Minister for Fisheries, Hellen Adoa Abeku asked the Uganda Revenue Authority [URA] and the Ministry of Trade to enforce operations at the border points of Uganda to stop the illegal entry of fishing gears and chemicals that are poisonous to fish.

The minister said: “URA and the Ministry of Trade are responsible for the entry of these illegal and dangerous fishing gears into the country. They have not tightened or used their mandate to control unwanted items into the country.”

She also assured the country that MAAIF is committed to ensuring a favourable environment for fish production and productivity.

“In order to ensure a safe fish environment, we are physically removing pollutants such as plastics from the water bodies,” stated Adoa.

The Fisheries sub-sector contributes 4 percent to the gross domestic product [GDP] and is the second largest commodity export product for Uganda after coffee.

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