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UGX 3 Billion fish plant rotting in Majanji

Members of the fishers’ cooperatives in Busia and the neighboring district have asked the government to lift the ban on fishing and allow them to start working.

They said, the continued ban on fishing has negatively impacted on them, kicked them out of business leaving them struggling to feed their families and educating their children.

Moses Wandera said that fishing holiday given to Lake Victoria is long enough to have rejuvenated the lake and asked the government to withdraw the UPDF marines’ protection unit which he reportedly accused of only being hush to Ugandan fishermen but not their Kenyan colleagues who have been allegedly allowed to fish in Ugandan waters.

The government early last year deployed marine protection unit following the cases of using illegal fishing gear and fish poisoning which had characterized the lake that immensely resulted in its depletion of fish.

The fishers also complained of being tortured, arrested and their fishing gear being impounded and destroyed by the marines. The fishmongers last year appealed to the parliamentary committee on agriculture animal industry and fisheries to address their plight.

A fish export handling plant constructed six years ago at Majanji landing site on the showers of Lake Victoria has also suffered the same and it’s lying idle.

The shillings three billion facility, constructed with support from the African Development Bank (ADB) has the capacity to handle 15000 tons of fish annually but it has remained idle due to lack of fish.

The plant officially commissioned in 2012 when the Lake had a lot of fish. Similar projects constructed in Massese in Jinja and in Buikwe districts have also remained idle.

The area district fisheries officer Eugene Egessa said Uganda alone has no mandate to rejuvenate the lake by giving it a fishing holiday noting that a concerted effort by the governments of Uganda and Kenya and Tanzania is required.

He also said only the ministry of agriculture has powers to open up the lake for fishing because it imposed the ban. He appealed to the fishers to be patient and wait till government will decide when to withdraw the soldiers.

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