Govt told to stop importing bad fishing gear if compliance is required

(Last Updated On: 7 May 2024)

Amolatar I Fishermen operating at the Bangala landing site on Lake Kyoga in Amolatar district have advised the government to prohibit the importation of bad fishing gear if they must use the recommended ones.

On May 4, 2024, they delivered the advice to Hellen Adoa, the State Minister for Fisheries. The minister paid a visit to the fishing community in response to a series of murder, human rights violations, and extortion cases committed by some Fishery Protection Unit soldiers.

The fishermen claim that since the government prohibited them from using certain fishing gear, the markets for nets have remained open, prompting them to continue purchasing.

Through Adoa, they pleaded with the government to prevent FPU from prohibiting them from using their existing nets, should they still be available for purchase. Adoa was also requested to guarantee that FPU ceases their extortion on a large scale.

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Ebill Water, a fisherman, also informed the minister that the silver nets they are required to use are ineffective on Lake Kyoga.

He asked her to review the proper use of nets for catching silver fish.

The fishermen also asked the government, through the MAAIF, to deal with water hyacinth, which they claim is causing them to lose their nets in the water.

In response to the removal of water hyacinth, Minister Adoa stated that the government had signed an agreement with an Egyptian company for a project titled “aquatic weed control.”

She also advised fishermen to bring up net issues and other concerns when meeting with the President.

Adoa also urged fishermen to band together and present a good proposal to the President when they meet him soon.

However, Amolatar woman MP Agness Atim Apea questioned the minister about why fishermen are not compensated, despite her efforts to address the issue through numerous letters.

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MP Apea urged the minister to prepare for the meeting with the President as soon as possible in order to prevent further killings of fishermen on Lake Kyoga.

She requested that FPU stop violating fishermen’s rights.

Amolatar’s LC5 chairperson, Geoffrey Ocen Kiring, requested that detach from Bangala be removed.

According to the district chairperson, the UPDF does not stop illegal fishing, but rather participates in it. He advised that they be removed from the lake and replaced with fish guards.

Last week, an FPU soldier killed a fisherman and his colleague was arrested and taken to the detachment. 

It has been unsuccessful for tndNews to contact Lt. Lauben Ndifula, the FPU’s public information officer, regarding incidents of extortion and violence against fishermen. He has yet to respond to our repeated requests for comment.

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