319,000 Illegal Fishing Gear Destroyed Countrywide

Written by on October 25, 2021

The Fisheries Protection Unit-FPU has impounded and destroyed more than 3,000 pieces of illegal fishing gear countrywide in September.

The destroyed fishing gear includes boats, monofilament nets, solar batteries, bulbs, hooks, and immature fish among others. The 319,000 items were confiscated and destroyed in Ntoroko, Butiaba, Namayingo, Kalangala, serere, Kasese, Jinja, Buvuma, Rukungiri, Kwania, Buyende, Masaka, Kayunga, Mpigi, Buikwe, Apac and Mukono among others.

Lt. Reuben Ndifuna, the spokesperson for Fisheries Protection Unit-FPU says that they destroyed 52,575 pieces of monofilament nets, 8,457kg of immature fish, 35,442, 10,881 illegal boats, 1,463 solar batteries and 189,103 illegal hooks among others.

According to Lt. Ndifuna, only boats with an interior overall length of 28 feet are recommended by the Fish Act but fishermen and their leaders have since protested the guideline which they say does not apply to all lakes due to the water levels and cost of acquisition.

In 2017, President Yoweri Kaguta Museveni directed Uganda Peoples Defense forces-UPDF soldiers to deploy on all the lakes in the country to combat illegal fishing practices to protect the fish resources that were under threat of depletion and dwindled fish stock in the country.  The operation comes at a time when Parliament is currently scrutinizing the Fisheries and Aquaculture Bill, 2021.

The Bill was recently tabled before Parliament and seeks to consolidate and reform the law relating to the management of fisheries products and aquaculture due to several challenges and emerging issues in the regulation and management of the sector which are not addressed.

During the Law Revision of 2000, the Country’s laws were reorganized and the Fish and Crocodile Act became the Fish Act, which was further amended in 2011 to provide for the establishment of the Fisheries Fund and to permit the retention and use of fees received by the Chief Fisheries Officer from the issuance of licenses, permits and other activities for development and management of the sector.

However, the government says that these amendments were not comprehensive enough to fully address all challenges facing the fisheries sector because they only focused on licenses, the introduction of currency points and retention of funds.

The new Bill is proposing the licensing and registration of fishing vessels and fishers, control and regulation of all fisheries and aquaculture production activities and practices, methods of fishing and fishing gear, establishment and regulation of lake management organizations and gazetting of landing sites, provide for fish breeding and regulation of fish feeds and others.

The government also proposes the establishment of a Fisheries and Aquaculture Technical Committee which will ensure that fisheries resources are managed and also advise the Minister on effective planning financing and coordination of the sector. The Committee is proposed to serve under the Directorate of Fisheries Resources.

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