Fishing gear worth Shs656m destroyed in Buyende

Illegal fishing gear are seen in flames at Bukungu Marine Barracks in Buyende District on July 31, 2023. PHOTO/SAM CALEB OPIO

What you need to know:

  • Fishermen urged to be law compliant. 

Authorities in Buyende District together with the Police and Fisheries Protection Unit (FPU) have destroyed illegal fishing gear and vessels worth Shs656m.

John Muwadi, the Buyende District Fisheries Officer, said the items include 513 illegal boats worth Shs410m, 413 seine nets worth Shs206m and 202 cast nets worth Shs40m.

According to Muwadi, out of 209 boats at Bukungu Landing Site, only 17 have successfully been licensed of the 122 which have so far applied for licensing.

“It is unfortunate that when the waters were opened in July 2020, fishermen were catching between 30kgs and 50kgs of fish, but after illegal fishing came back, hardly do they catch 10kgs,” he observed.

The Fisheries officer noted that the boats must be seaworthy and registered with identification for proper monitoring in line with the Standard Operating Procedures.

Capt Jacob Katumba Kafeero, the Lake Kyoga and Kwania Fisheries Protection Unit Sector Commander, urged fishermen to comply because the operation is going to be “more deterrent and comprehensive”.

He warned those using the Force’s image to con other fishermen to stop, citing an example of a lady who was impersonating a military Col and extorting money from local fishermen. He also cited another undisclosed person who has been intimidating and arresting fishermen.

The fishing community, through the Bukungu Mayor Martin Aribo, raised concern over delayed supply of bots.

“It is true some of my colleagues (politicians) are part of the gangs of illegal fishing and sometimes support and protect them,” he said.

Buyende Resident District Commissioner (RDC) Amir Kintu called for compliance amongst fishermen and gave a go-ahead for even stricter measures against illegal fishing activities.

“Four youths have died in the waters in less than a month and illegal gear leads to loss of economy. Let us change our methods of work, remove illegalities and protect our livelihood,” he said.

Kintu also urged the fishing community to embrace government programmes such as Parish Development Model (PDM).