By Peter Abanabasazi
Fishermen on the lake shores of L. Albert in Ndaiga sub-county, Kagadi district are stranded with nothing to eat after Fisheries Protection Unit-FPU together with Uganda Revenue Authority officials last week confiscated over 100 boats and several fishing nets following continued complaints from the public over usage of illegal fishing gear on Lake Albert.
URA wants the fishermen to use fishing boats that have engines and standard nets to reduce on illegal fishing on Lake Albert.
The affected fishermen want the government to provide them with a special fund to enable them to acquire the recommended fishing gear if it wants to eliminate the use of illegal fishing gears.
Lawrence Tisawu, the LCII Kitebere landing site in Ndaiga sub-county says some fishermen claim that the impounded fishing gears were their only sources of income. The fishermen also accuse soldiers of using excessive force in their operations.
Meanwhile, the Resident District Commissioner Kagadi, Lillian Ruteraho says Uganda has signed a memorandum of understanding with DRC’s Ministry of Environment that will see the two governments implement a fishing holiday of April-June and September-December to allow the fish stock to rejuvenate.
Early this month, the Fisheries Protection Unit-FPU impounded more than 100 illegal fishing boats and gear at various landing sites on Lake Albert. The illegal fishing gear was impounded in various operations which started on Monday in Kikuube, Kagadi and Ntoroko districts under the Commander Lt. Colonel Edward Ijjo.
The most affected fishermen are from Kitebere and Ndaiga landing sites in Kagadi district, Nkondo, Bugoma and Busiki in Kikuube district.