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UPDF impounds illegal fishing gear in Apac

The UPDF’s Fisheries Protection Unit, FPU, has impounded 200 illegal fishing boats and 113 fishing nets in operations to curb illegal fishing on Lake Kwania, Apac district.

According to a statement released by the Unit, the illegal gear was seized between August and October this year, in an operation covering eight landing sites in Apac, including  Kayeyi, Acoli Inn, Wanycolo, Kibwale, Kiga, Cunga boys, Acuda and Cunga.

The recovery of the fishing tools comes shortly after government, on August 7, lifted a ban on fishing on Lake Kwania and registered fishermen with the approved fishing gear.

Peter Tibwaboas, FPU’s Commandant in Apac district, said that while majority of fishermen are complying with regulations against illegal fishing, a few remain defiant.

“Some fishermen are sneaking into the lake with illegal fishing nets. Such nets cause losses to the government,” Tibwaboas said.

He appealed to all fishermen to comply with the fishing regulations to help conserve the country’s water resources.

Col. James Nuwagaba, the head of the FPU, urged Chairpersons of landing sites to support the fight against illegal fishing by reporting offenders.

Wilfred Mega, the Apac District Fisheries Officer called for the operation to be intensified, so that the fishermen do not lose the benefits they are enjoying now.

“Those who have the standard nets are doing very well and their livelihood is rapidly improving, unlike those involved in illegal fishing,” Mega said.

The army crackdown against illegal fishing follows a 2017 directive by President Yoweri Museveni to the UPDF to deploy on Uganda’s lakes in a bid to curb illegal fishing practices, which he said were endangering fishing resources to the point of depletion.

Subsequently, the UPDF set up the Fisheries Protection Unit (FPU) to implement the directive on Lakes Victoria, Edward, George, Kwania and Kyoga, in addition to operating along fish routes and markets to stop the sale of immature fish.

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