What you need to know:
- Operations. “We know it is so painful for fishing communities to deal with the ongoing activity, but in the long run they will celebrate the outcome of the operations. People were fishing immature fish and we need the fish to grow,” Mr Paul Okware, the principal fisheries inspector at Ministry of Agriculture, Animal Industry and Fisheries.
Fish prices in the West Nile region have shot up following last month’s operation against illegal fishing gear by the UPDF fisheries protection unit (FPU).
Fish mongers in Pakwach have revealed that a kilogramme of fish now costs Shs20,000 up from Shs13,000.
Ms Goretti Acen, a fish dealer at Dei Landing Site, on Tuesday said she now requires Shs5m capital to buy fish she initially got at Shs1.5m.
“The prices have gone up due to scarcity of fish. Very few fishermen have the required fishing gear. We are suffering losses. Business is slow because Congolese who used to come and buy are now discouraged by the high prices,” she said.
Mr Peter Okumu, another fish monger, said they hardly get fish ever since the operation on illegal fishing gears on Lake Albert was launched.
The FPU operation is aimed at conserving fish species in Lake Albert.
Mr Paul Kinobe, the chairperson of the business community in Panyimur Town Council, said the operation against illegal fishing gear has also affected livelihoods of many fishermen who entirely depend on the trade as their source of income.
“Operations on Lake Albert will force some fishermen who lost their fishing gears to sell off their assets in order to remit their loan repayments and feed their families,” Mr Kinobe said.
But the principal fisheries inspector at Ministry of Agriculture, Animal Industry and Fisheries, Mr Paul Okware, said fishing communities would soon start reaping from the trade.
“We know it is so painful for fishing communities to deal with the ongoing activity but in the long run they will celebrate the outcome of the operations. People were fishing immature fish and we need the fish to grow,” Mr Okware said.
He added that Uganda’s fish export estimated at 16,000 tonnes is rated at $132 million.
He said if the operations are extended for more than six months, Uganda will export more metric tonnes which will boost economic growth.