Dokolo: FPU destroys 1,608 fishing nets, 220 boats
The operations was aimed at cracking down on the use of unrecommended fishing gears in the district.
By Acipa Doreen
Dokolo – March 9, 2022: The Fisheries Protection Unit (FPU) has impounded and set on fire 1,608 fishing nets and 220 boats in Dokolo district.
This follows the operations conducted by a team from the fisheries protection unit headed by Gordon Musinguzi. He is the commandant of the FPU in charge of Dokolo district.
The separate operations he led was supported by the leadership of Dokolo district headed by Anna Odongo Lumumba, the Resident District Commissioner (RDC).
This contemporary digital newspaper understands that all the fishing activities have been suspended for two weeks during the operations.
The operations were aimed at cracking down on the use of unrecommended fishing gears in the district. It started on February 27, 2022, and ended on March 4, 2022.
The operations covered the landing sites of Aoa, Akuli and Wigudu in Kwera sub-county, Awei landing site in Adeknino sub-county and Awany landing site in Agwata Town council all in Dokolo.
Out of the 1,608 fishing nets impounded, 1,368 were monofilament nets commonly known as (Kambamaji), 180 pieces of gill nets (undersized), 52 pieces of kokota, 8 pieces of cash nets and 180 pieces of gill nets (undersize nets).
220 pieces of boats with 35 pieces of tycoon sticks were also impounded during the operations.
Gordon Musinguzi said the main aim of the operations was to give the immature fish a chance to grow and maintain its fertility in the lakes.
“What prompted us to carry out the operations was that some fishermen were sneaking into the Lake with illegal fishing nets and depleting the Lakes causing loss to the government as immature fish meant to earn bigger revenue is left to rot on water surfaces,” Musinguzi told TND News on Monday in a phone interview.
He said as a result of the use of illegal fishing nets, immature fish were almost getting finished as the methods the fishermen were using were not sustainable.
“The problem is the mindset of the fishing community because they want quick money and when you tell them to be patient for the fish to grow and use better methods of fishing they think you are derailing them. We do sensitizations, enforcements and carry out operations,” he continued.
He appealed to those still involved in illegal fishing practices to desist and comply with the standard regulations to protect the water resource.
Anna Odongo Lumumba, RDC of Dokolo who was in the enforcement team said the impounded fishing nets were all burnt to stop the fishermen from sneaking into the Lake.
“During the operations, we were also able to destroy the illegal fishing gears by burning the nets and the timbers from the boats which we gave it for making some constructions of the military barracks in Dokolo instead of wasting it,” Odongo said in an interview.
She warned the fishermen to acquire the recommended nets and boats to resume the operations successfully.
“We have issued out a two weeks ultimatum to the fishermen still hiding their gears to surrender but in case they fail to comply, we shall again resume the operations. But to those who will fail to comply completely, we shall cause arrests on them,” RDC added.
She said they advised those whose nets and boats were impounded and destroyed to form a group of five and at least acquire recommended gears, and also being in groups, she said will help them to benefit from the government programs such as Parish Development Model
Joseph Okot, the chairperson of the fishing community Awei landing site confirmed that they were informed early before the operations were launched.
Okot said an amnesty of two weeks was given to the people to take all the unwanted fishing nets and boats to the gazetted landing site of which some people did the needful but others defaulted.
“The result of this operation is generally very positive,” he told us.
Okot is urging the people of Dokolo to follow the government policy and use the recommended gears to stop losing their lives as a result of using unrecommended boats.
Hassan Bonya, the chairperson of the fishing community of Akuli landing site expressed his happiness with the operations, saying it has enabled them to reap big following the use of the recommended fishing gears.
“The fishing community in Akuli are so much pleased with the operation because three days after the operations, on our first day of resuming work after the suspension of our operations, we were able to fish 210 kilograms of fish, on the second day we fished about 230 kilograms of fish which was of a benefit to us.”
“Now with the money, we have got after the sales of the fish, some of us have been able to remit the debts we had borrowed, pay school fees balances and remain with at least a minimum balance of shs 100,000,” he proudly added.
Akuli now has over twenty good and recommended boats that carry two to three fishermen, and a total of at least 50 persons enter the water in a day.
Moses Adim, the chairperson LC3 Kwera of sub-county said that the operation has not only helped to remove the bad gears but also to disorganize the bad wrongdoers.
“This is a government policy and it’s a good policy that we must accept for the good catch and betterment of our community,” he added.
Adima said there must be continuous sensitization on the disadvantage of using bad fishing gear.
On August 29, 2017, President Yoweri Museveni announced a nationwide ban on illegal fishing gear.
“I started an operation against illegal fishing and catching immature fish. I hear this is being used against me and the NRM,” Museveni said this on his official Twitter handle.