UPDF officers attached to Fish protection Unit (FPU) on Saturday arrested at least 11 fishermen at Tome landing site in Buvuma District for involving themselves in illegal fishing.
According to Capt Steven Alituha, the FPU commander, the suspects were arrested in possession of illegal fishing gears and immature fishing worth millions of shillings, while preparing to go to the market.
“I personally have gone to Tome landing site seven times telling fishermen to stop using illegal gears because they fish immature fish which is not allowed, but they have refused to adhere. This time we are taking them to court,” he said.
He added that: “I feel pain whenever I burn the illegal fishing gears and after a few days I find fishermen have bought others. They should stop it because I will not stop arresting them.”
Illegal fishing on Ugandan lakes has caused a reduction in fish stocks, especially in species like tilapia, Nile perch and sliver fish, something that has drastically affected the country’s export earnings from fish.
This, in January 2017, forced President Museveni to establish FPU to crackdown on illegal fishing on the lakes, which was blamed for the dwindling fish stocks in the country. This has in the last couple of years seen fish stock, especially Nile Perch, significantly increase in size.