Govt loses billions in illegal fishing annually
Posted Thursday, February 21 2013 at 18:49
At least 76 per cent of the fishing vessels on Lake Victoria are illegal and this has increased overfishing on the world’s third largest stream, costing the government millions of dollars annually.
A value for money audit on Lake Victoria by the Office of the Auditor General revealed that the pollution and environmental degradation on the lake had led to the extinction of a large number of fish species. The value for money audit was conducted in June 2010/2011 financial year.
Details in the frame survey of 2010 show that 56,957 vessels were found to be operating in the Ugandan side of Lake Victoria alone, compared to 13,450 registered and licensed in 2010, and it is more than the number registered. This implies 76 per cent of the vessels were not registered and should not operate in the lake.
According to Fisheries minister Ruth Nankabirwa, Uganda loses $180m (Shs483 billion) in foreign earnings annually due to illegal fishing. The loss figure is an estimate since 2007 when illegal fishing intensified in the country.
But Public Accounts Comnittee chairman Kassiano Wadri said lack of coordination among the fisheries agencies in the country had aggravated the situation.
The audit further revealed that 62 per cent of the population did not have access to safe water, and the ratio of people to toilet stance was high.